One killed, two rescued as mudslide sinks shanties
Following three days of intensive rainfall in Lagos, a massive mudslide, which occurred on Dosunmu Street, Agidingbi, has sunk some shanties built in the swampy area, leaving one person dead.
Two other persons escaped death after they were rescued from the rubble. The shanties, which were constructed on a wetland, finally sank after the unceasing rainfalls weakened the soil.
Although three persons were initially buried under the mud, emergency workers rescued them. However, luck was not on the side of one Faisa Muhammad, who died barely ten days after her wedding.
The spokesman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the Southwest, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, who confirmed the death, said: “The information we initially received was that a building collapsed at Amaraolu bus stop, Agidingbi. Response agencies stormed the scene and discovered that it was a mudslide that collapsed on shanties.
“One woman was recovered dead. The victim, Mrs. Faisa Muhammad, married 10 days ago before the incident. The deceased, 16-year-old Muhammad lived with her newly-wedded husband and her mother.”
Also confirming the incident, the General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Michael Akindele, who was at the scene, said the agency received the distress call through the emergency toll-free line 112/767 at about 10:54a.m. of a report of mudslide on illegal shanties around Kuata Area by Amara Olu street, Mechanic Village, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
“Three persons were discovered trapped under the mud. The agency’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was able to rescue two people (a male and a female). However, one Muhammad lost her life. She was recovered dead.
“The area is a wetland and a buffer zone, which is not habitable for human settlement. The state government has been sensitizing people staying in flood-prone areas and wetlands to vacate such areas to avert loss of lives, especially during this raining season.”
Also at the scene was the Commissioner, Ministry of the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, who urged the squatters to leave the area, as their shanty structures would be demolished soon.
When The Guardian got to the scene, a team from the state Environmental Task Force was pulling down all structures within sight. Most of the buildings within the surrounding were makeshift buildings used basically as mechanic shops and residential buildings.
It was learnt that the spot used to be a dumpsite. Some of the makeshift buildings belong to people from the northern part of the country; though it was gathered that some of them were from Niger republic.
As the caterpillar from the Environmental Task Force was ramming into the shanties, many of the occupants of the structures were picking some of their belongs to prevent them being crushed with the structures.
A man, who gave his name as Saidu, said many of them chose to stay in the place because they could not afford to rent a decent accommodation, including some auto mechanics who use the spot for their activities.
The spot is a marshy area reclaimed with refuse. It is divided into two, the uphill area and the shallow land. The uphill area is dominated by mechanics and their workshops with a few accommodation, the low land, which is about 500 metres from the upland, has a section used for farming and shanty settlements.
Some of the affected residents, who lamented that they would soon be rendered homeless, urged the state government to help provide alternative accommodation for them, albeit temporarily.
On how the shanties caved in, they said it simply sank without much fuss, adding that the constant rains must have weakened the soil.
Emergency workers were drawn from NEMA, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Alausa Police Division, the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS).