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By Esther Onyegbula

A year after residents of Ilo- Boundary, Ajegunle community in Oke -Odo Local Council Development Area, Lagos State cried out to the state government that their community is being threatened by flood, respite is yet to come to them.

The community shares land boundary with Ogun State at the toll gate area Lagos – Abeokuta Express Way.

Despite appeal by the community through media publications last year that got the attention of the Lagos State government resulting in government sending engineers to repair the canal causing the flooding in the community, the situation has remained the same.

However, shortly after the engineers moved equipment to the canal, the residents who expressed happiness that their community would soon be free from flood said they were shocked when they woke up one day and the engineers had moved their equipment away without repairing the collapsed canal and the dilapidated bridge.

When Vanguard visited the community, it was observed that the flood has worsened the state of the dilapidated bridge due to none dredging of the sand. Also, commuters were seen avoiding the dilapidated bridge.

Further investigation shows that the Folashade Tinubu market at the Ojokoro end of the bridge has been consumed by erosion resulting in traders relocating from the market due to fear of being swept away.

Recall that the residents said they have sent several appeal letters and emissaries to Lagos state government to do the needful and repair the canal and the bridge to no avail. They further raised the alarm pointing out that the canal flooded their community after children fell into the canal on their way home during a downpour last year.

The Chairman, Community Development Association, Ilo Ajegunle Boundary, Pastor Jeremiah Omomogbe said “we have over 100,000 residents and the canal is worst now. We have written letters to Lagos State Ministry of Environment and they have been here to assess it. They drew a plan on paper that they will soon start work. They came with their equipment and left. I have taken more than twenty letters to governor Sanwo-Olu and the ministry. I went to the engineer called Mr. Sanusi at Obalende area to ask why they left without repairing the canal but they did not give me any favourable answer.’’

A business owner and community leader who simply identified herself as Mr. Benjamin said “We have appealed to the government so as to avert a disaster. Lagos state government officials are collecting tax from us and we have been crying to them to no avail. We were very happy when we saw the engineers with the equipment last year to fix the canal but shortly after, we were surprised when they packed their equipment and left without doing anything on the site. We do not know why they left and no explanation was given to us. As I am talking to you, rain has started again and the canal has deteriorated because it has not been dredged, sand has filled it up and this has worsened the situation. We do not want to lose our children who pass through there to school, that is why we are appealing to the government of Lagos state to come to our rescue so that we do not loose anyone before the canal and the bridge will be repaired’’

Chief Mrs. Bose Ibrahim the leader of the Folashade Market Ilo Oja said ” This market was given to the traders by Folashade Tinubu. She bought five plots of land and gave it out for market but flooding from the dredging of the canal is washing away the market. We loaded five Lorries of sand daily to stop the erosion to no avail. The situation is beyond us and government needs to intervene urgently to save our livelihood but for more than four years, nothing has been done.’’

Mr. Suraju Ojikuto, the chairman of the Abbattior in the Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle community while speaking on the danger the canal poses said “. There was a time it rained heavily during the day and three children going home fell and the canal wall collapsed and they were swept away. Fortunately, some of our meat sellers saw what happened and they quickly jumped into the floodwater and rescued the children and took them home. The rain has started again and we thought by now the government would have fixed the problem but the engineers came, did as if they want to start work but left without doing anything. This is very sad.’

Another businessman Mr Saheed Lamid said ‘’ We were overwhelmed with happiness when the engineers came to fix the canal because our businesses can be swept away. There was a white man among the engineers but they just disappeared one day with their equipment without repairing anything. This is very sad. The canal walls have collapsed. The bridge is already waiting to collapse. This is an impending disaster and the government should rise to avert it.’’

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