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Sacked by flood : Lagos Island residents send SOS to govt

By Bose Adebayo

MANY innocent lives have been lost to recurring incidents of building collapse in Lagos. The most recent one took place last Sunday at No121 Ladipo Road, Mushin. And in almost all cases, building experts have attributed such collapse to the absence of professionalism on the part of some builders which often lead to some structural defects.

Investigations by Vanguard Metro revealed that many cases of buildings collapse would have been averted if the drainage systems have been properly constructed.

And this presently underlines the fear of residents of Bamgbose Street in Lagos Island who have for the past two years been suffering in silence as they usually find themselves marooned or denied access to their houses any time it rains heavily in the area.  In fact, many of the buildings have been submerged in water such that access to and from this street has become a nightmare to residents and motorists.

Various attempts made by some of these residents to get the problem solved by the Lagos Island Local Council East have proved abortive. During a recent visit to the area, Vanguard Metro  did not fail to notice the evident total blockage of the only drainage in the area which has made some of these residents to now live in a form of solitary confinement.

•The portion of the road flooded by the pool of water along Bamgbose Street in Lagos. Photo: Biodun Ogunleye
•The portion of the road flooded by the pool of water along Bamgbose Street in Lagos. Photo: Biodun Ogunleye

Apart from this, there is prevailing apprehension that the problem is enough to cause an epidemic in the area. Beside the health implication for residents, there is also the fear that those buildings and shops which are presently submerged in water  might soon cave in resulting in another avoidable building collapse tragedy, except urgent steps are taken by government to pre-empt this.

Although some of the residents who spoke with this reporter said the Lagos Island Local Government has been there on various occasions to offer palliative measures, but the problem has remained.

Mr. Dayo Wright who resides there attributed the problem to laxity on the part of the government. “The recent development has been on for almost seven weeks now. We have invited the Council Chairman and his Special Adviser on Environment as well as Supervisor for Works, Gbolahan Adepesan who lives at Number 106.

The Council Engineer and other Council staff came with a pumping machine but that did not help the situation. The problem in this area is more than what a pumping machine can solve. The underground drainage is totally blocked and there is no flow,” he said.

On the way out of the problem, he said: “Government will need to break the road in other to construct another one which should be more solid to contain the amount of traffic in the area. Bamgbose and Igbosere streets are the two major highways in Lagos Island because the traffic going to CMS, Obalende and Ikoyi goes to Igbosere from the Campus Square end to the end of Igbosere at Moloney Street.

Also, traffic from P and T at Moloney and Obalende going towards Tinubu passes through Bamgbose, an extension of Cewes street. The ultimate solution is for the government to construct a new drainage system at the junction of Campus Square and Bamgbose Street.

This drainage is 40 years old and the sand filling process that took place when the fly over bridge was being constructed is what is affecting us now. There was no adequate provision of good drainage system, so the perimeter of Lagos Island is blocked”.

Former Chairman of Popo Aguda Community, Mr. Muhammed Pedro told Vanguard Metro thus: “The problem is disheartening. For something like this to be happening in a place which is just about 300m radius to the local government headquarters is unbelievable.

We have met them on various occasions and all they do is to come here and do a minor work of packing the sand and put it beside the wall of the Campus Square and go their way. The sand would later find its way into the drainage any time it rains. The drainage at Campus Square was constructed by the community and this has brought succour to the Campus Square people”.

A trader along the street said the prevailing situation has affected businesses in the area. “Many of our customers have no choice but to look for alternative places; many of them would prefer to go elsewhere and buy rather than crossing the dirty water.

To me, the water is unhealthy and deadly but many of us still reside here because we don’t have an alternative. I wonder the type of government we have in this country that feels unconcerned with the suffering of the masses. One of the local government officials has a house in this street but I think he is waiting till they call him and announce that the problem has killed many people so that he can rush down here to sign a condolence register,” he stated with disapproval.

Efforts to reach the council chairman or his Supervisor for Works, Hon. Adepegba proved abortive as none of them was available to pick their calls.


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