BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO
UNDER the scorching sun in Makoko, a slum community in Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Mrs. Abraham Adesope, a dispatch rider for a courier firm, walked back and forth to locate the address on the parcel he was holding.
Thirty minutes after her arrival, she was sweating profusely and was obviously confused. She had ferried through the phalanxes of structures in the coastal community searching for the address.
Accosting a resident, she asked for assistance towards locating the address. Adesope spoke politely. “He directed me to what he believed should be the structure with the said address. But to my surprise, I discovered avalanche of structures attached to that particular address. And they all claim the same address.”
Efforts by Adesope, at locating the owner of the parcel through his mobile lines, that day unfortunately proved abortive.
Like Adesope, Miss. Subomi Ige, a petty trader, lamented that none of the homes in the communities, posted on stilts raised above putrid, black water, had identification number, adding; “Despite my weekly visit to the communities which started three years ago, identifying the structures is strenuous.”
For decades, identifying the numbers of structures in Makoko or the boundary between the community and other five coastal communities under Makoko-Iwaya Waterfront Community, Yaba LCDA, was labyrinthine.
Others were: Appollo, Medewe, Adogbon, Yasen, Oko-agbon and Makoko.
These communities, described as the Lagos Venice has 50 percent of its structures erected on water. The network of roads in the community spreading from the backyard of the University of Lagos, Akoka to the Adekunle axis of Yaba can be navigated by canoe.
The coastal community had no means of identification or numbers which could aid anyone having the accurate number of structures in the six communities and their location.
The need to have an accurate data of structures in Makoko came to fore two years ago, when the state government demolished several shanties erected 100 meters to the electricity installation on the lagoon. The purpose, according to the state governor, Babatunde Fashola was to protect the environment and life of the residents.
Even the state government after demolition, was unable to state emphatically the number of structures removed from the waterfront. The residents also couldn’t categorically state the number of affected structures. But only relied on the large space where the structures previously occupied to estimate the number of structures demolished.
Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe in 2012, lamented over lack of street names and House Identification tag in the community. Fadipe explained that this was the reason for delay in responding promptly to an inferno in the community which razed about 10 structures.
The House Numbering Project, HNP, undertaken by the Lagos state Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, was embarked upon two years ago, to conform to international standards.
Worried by LASAA’s less attention to the communities in its numbering project, Makoko-Iwaya waterfront community embarked on implementing a unique house numbering project for its community that will make identification of over 4, 000 houses in the six communities easier.
Speaking on the development, the secretary of the community, Mr. John Keke said; “This will help the government and even the residents to know the total number of houses in the communities. And that will put the communities at par with their counterparts in other megacities across the world.”