By Kingsley Adegboye
RESPITE has finally come to some residents of Iju-Ishaja, a densely populated neighbourhood in the Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos, where the ill-fated Dana airplane crashed penultimate.
About 35 households whose buildings were badly damaged by the crash, were last Wednesday, given temporary reprieve by the Lagos State Government which relocated them to the Ipaja Relief Camp outside Ikorodu.
Governor Babatunde Fashola who visited the scene two days earlier had directed the State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA to relocate the displaced residents in order to foreclose the outbreak of communicable diseases in the area. The Governor also ordered the immediate demolition of the affected buildings to rid the environment of defective buildings that could result to more loss of lives.
Many of the relocated people had given up hope of getting immediate accommodation, and some of them did not believe the Governor when he promised that the government would relocate them to a relief camp as alternative accommodation for the time being. It was mixed reaction when the residents saw government’s vehicles and officials that morning coming to take them and their belongings to Ipaja Relief Camp.
One of them who spoke to Vanguard Features, VF on condition of anonymity said they did not take the governor serious when he made the promise to provide them with an alternative accommodation. “Some of us had lost hope of getting immediate accommodation, considering how difficult it is to get accommodation inLagos. For some us, it is a big relief that the government is relocating us to Ipaja Camp. This gesture has solved our accommodation problem for now. ‘From the camp, some of us can now think of the next step to take concerning where to relocate. Most of us work and do business inLagos. From what we hear, Ipaja is outside Ikorodu. This means that it is not going to be easy coming from there to work or do business inLagos every day. This is why some of us will have to look for accommodation inLagos metropolis,’’ he noted.
But Mrs. Chidima Iloka was not happy going to the camp. The reason according to her, is that her business is located at Iju-Ishaga.’’My business is located near my house which was destroyed by the plane crash. As I talk to you now, my husband who was injured in the building as a result of the crash is still in the hospital.
How do I come all the way from Ipaja Camp to see my husband in the hospital? For me, that location is rather too far to come to this part ofLagosevery day and return”, she said.
Pastor Daniel Omowunmi who is the landlord of the premises comprising a residential storey building and a warehouse used as a printing press, told our VF that he was not part of those being relocated to the camp, as his church had arranged an alternative accommodation for him
Commending the government’s gesture, he said the situation could have been worse for residents rendered homeless, as most of them had no place to relocate to. Pastor Omowunmi ofLivingFaithChurchwho told VF that he was in the church service with his family members when the incident occurred, added ‘’what I lost to the incident are the two houses within the premises”.
“The storey building affected by the crash was my residential house while the warehouse which was also affected was where my printing press and printing materials were before the incident. Also, a car that I parked within the premises was shattered by the crashed plane. Those were the loses that I suffered. I thank God that I did not lose any of family members to the incident,” he said.