Some residents of Akobi Crescent in Surulere, Lagos State, have said flood will continue to ravage the area until the canal is properly cleared.
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The area was flooded on June 7, 2020, after a heavy downpour, which washed up used plastic bottles and food packs in the canal, causing water to overflow into houses.
The incident caused panic among residents, some of whose household items were damaged.
Officials of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), were later deployed to the area to evacuate the waste.
But speaking to Newsbreak, the residents lamented that there will only be respite, if the canal is cleared from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
They said trees and weeds have overtaken the canal from LASUTH, part of which according to them, has been responsible for flooding in the area.
Kunle Ola, a resident, said the canal had not been cleared since former governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, left office.
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“If you check from LASUTH, big trees and weeds have taken over the canal. So how will water flow? The last time the state government cleared this canal was when Fashola was still in office. At least i’ve been living here for eight years now. They did not even remember that there is a canal here all through Ambode’s time. This is the third time flooding will occur here within that period. I live here close to the canal. This last one destroyed some of my neighbour’s properties at the down floor,” he said.
Ahmed Salami, a welder, accused the state government of neglecting the community.
“The state government knows that the only solution to our problem is clearing the canal from the back of LUTH. Fashola did it like three times when he was governor before any rainy season. Now they will just come, pack the waste and leave. We are praying not to experience another flood this year again. Bushes have taken over the canal that you won’t even know it is a canal,” he stated.
Ajani Oladotun, a pastor, whose house was flooded during the recent incident, said LAWMA only came to create a temporary relief for the community.
“I told LAWMA officials the day they came here, that they started the work from the middle. How about clearing it from where it is flowing from? If any heavy rain falls, we may be in trouble again. They just came to remove only the waste. We didn’t suffer like this under Fashola.
“If not that we had not slept that day, the water could have destroyed so many things. Food packs and plastic bottled water took over our frontage. We had to start moving things. Before now, once there is flood, the water will recede after 30 minutes, but this one refused to, from 10:30pm that the rain started till in the morning,” he stated.
Abisola Sodipe, a landlady in the area, appealed to the state government to stop residents of Mushin and Idi Oro from dumping their waste into the canal.
“We know government does not want to clear this canal so that we can have rest of mind, but please tell them to ensure that Lagosians living in Mushin and Idi Oro stop dumping their refuse into canal. We learnt that they are the ones dumping things into their canal. We are the ones suffering for it here. We could not sleep at home on Sunday. Imagine that in a big city like Lagos,” she concluded.
Another landlord, Daniel Diba, said if not for the cost, he and other house owners in the area would have cleared the canal on their own.
“You need to see this place on Sunday. It is not befitting at all. Water, plastic bottles and food packs occupied everywhere. We landlords could have done this on our own, but it is a big project. So we can only appeal to government to clear the trees on water path in the canal,” he bemoaned.
Deji Faradeyo said the situation is an example of government failing to rise to its responsibilities.
“Do you as a journalist have to come and tell the world what we are going through before government would come to do the needful? We pay taxes from our hard earned income, yet we still have to beg government to perform its duties. Normally, canals should be cleared before the rainy season.
“Look at the mess we found ourselves. What have they been doing before trees started growing inside a canal. To remove it has now become a big problem that we have to suffer for,” he admitted.
Efforts to get reaction from the state government proved abortive, as our reporter was told the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Environment was not available.
His secretary promised he would communicate, but no correspondence was received after four days before filing this report.