By Bose Adebayo
If you have a relation living in Isheri-Oshun, a community in Igando-Ikotun Local Government Development Area, you will do well to find out if all is well with him or her. Reason? Information has it that residents of this community have been suffering untold hardship in silence.
Apart from the fact that they have not enjoyed electricity for the past two months, the only road linking them to other parts of Lagos State have been closed, no thanks to Hitech Construction Company, which took over the road construction since July 2008.
For the past three weeks, vehicles must have to stop over at Bucknor where passengers are left to trek to Jakande Estate as a result of the closure. Apart from this, the only river in this community has overflowed its banks after the two-day downpour last weekend.
Vanguard Metro investigations revealed the construction company had blocked the river channels for effective work on the road, a situation the residents in the area find rather curious since that was not the case during the dry season.
As at the time of filing this report, manyÂ residents have been rendered homeless, while property worth billions of Naira have beenÂ lost to the flood. Some school children could not go to school because their school buildings have been submerged.
A victim, Moses Akindele, popularly called Eri, said the situation has grounded commercial activities in the community. â€œOur street has been taken over by flood and I had to move my family for safety. Unfortunately, we donâ€™t have enough space to accommodate all of us.
My wife and our two months old baby live with my sister while I squat with a friend. As at now, I have not been able to open my shop because the two locations are poles apart. I donâ€™t even have rest of mind because I have to shuttle between my friendâ€™s place and my sisterâ€™s; I no longer have time for my shop. A lot of us had not been able to open our shops since the flood started,â€ he explained.
When Vanguard Metro went round the community, it was discovered that the area mostly affected were Odetayo, Jegede, Sharafa, Adekoya and Liadi-Disu Streets among others. Most residents of these streets have gone to seek refuge in other places.
Also, access to and from the community has been denied as the major road has been taken over by flood. The road had become slippery and those who dare to go out would have to remove their shoes and wade through the flood, while employing every tactics to avoid falling into the river. By the time they complete the â€˜exerciseâ€™, many of them are completely worn out.
Some residents who spoke with Vanguard Metro attributed the situation to slow pace of work on the road. â€œHitech has spent a year on this work and itâ€™s like nothing has been done; they donâ€™t have enough machines and to the best of my knowledge, they have not shown enough seriousness on the job.
They shouldnâ€™t have blocked the water channels; what we need on this spot is a bridge and not sand-filling of the river. You see, some of the victims have moved to my house but how long shall we continue with this? As far as Iâ€™m concerned, the river will continue to overflow as long as the channels remain blocked,â€ said a landlord, Wale Bakare.
â€œWe have never experienced something like this in the history of this community. The construction company need to speed up its work. We have met with the chairman of the company and he told us in confidence that they started the project a year behind schedule. It is like when a dam is overflowing, the problem will not be over until we have more channels,â€ said CDA Chairman, Apostle Oluwo Olayiwola.
A resident Alhaji Niyi Balogun told Vanguard Metro: â€œYou know the construction company handles a lot of projects in the state. From a layman point of view, Hitech is very slow; the project would have gone far if it were to be another company. Even though it is a three- year project, there is no indication they can complete it in four years; they donâ€™t have enough manpower, they donâ€™t have qualified engineers.
They need to bring a machine called Sand-buggy which they donâ€™t have. there is no way they can use manual operations for this kind of project. What they should have done is to construct a bridge on top of the river so that the river will not disturb anybody rather than blocking the channels as if they can complete the work before the rainy season. Look at the number of people that have been rendered homeless as a result of somebodyâ€™s carelessnessâ€.