A woman, her two-month-old baby, and five suspected oil thieves died last year when the community was ravaged by flood, considered to be the worst in its history.
Newsbreak visited the community on Friday after the state government advised people in low-lying areas to relocate to places of higher ground, due to the expected amount of rainfall this year.
But the residents stated that they are already used to the situation, insisting that whatever will happen cannot be worse than what they experienced in 2019, when aside from deaths recorded, many people fled the area.
They maintained that most of those who fled the community during last year’s ordeal, have returned.
A 74-year-old woman, Fidelia Adeola, said it was her children who came to her rescue last year, when they realised that the flood became life-threatening.
“I have been living here for over 40 years. This is where I got married. My husband built this house and I had all my five children here. We are used to this flood already because government has refused to do what they promised to do at the bank of the river.
“I have made up my mind that since I don’t benefit anything from the government, I will not vote again. They brought land use charge last year, I told them I will not pay because when flood took over my house, there was no help from them. One of my children had to take me to Agric in Ikorodu, where I stayed for more than a month.
“I’m a bit educated today because Awolowo gave me free education in 1962. Government today are totally useless,” she said.
Wosilat Adeleke, who took refuge with her three children in an abandoned yellow bus, popularly called danfo, with another woman, who used the space for sewing to make ends meet, lamented that they are carry refugee-tag in their own country.
She stated: “You saw what we went through last year. My children and I slept in an abandoned bus for a month. The woman we occupied the bus with has relocated to Mile 12 where she is managing with her family member because flood washed away most of her customers’ clothes.
“In 2009, Goodluck Jonathan came and talked about what the state government should do to stop the river from overflowing into the community. This is 11 years after, nothing has been done. We are used to the suffering. If the flood comes again, we will survive it. They know us already as refugees. Water is the land owner here, we are the tenants.”
Another resident, Steven Alenyi, a father of three, said he is aware of the government’s warning, but prays that whatever happens should not be as traumatic as last year’s incident.
“My brother, the fear of that flood is there oo. I heard the news on radio about government asking people to leave flood-prone areas. But to where? I’ve been living here for 10 years now. If I have the means, my family will not be here today. I wept as a man during last year’s incident. People here are used to the flood just like the die-hard spirit of Nigerians because there is no help.
“Government knows what to do. Even if they have been doing it gradually, by now, we will not be where we are today. If it comes again, I will move my wife and children to Mile 2 to stay with my brother, but I don’t pray to witness such incident again,” he noted.
A man who gave his name simply as Irewole, said they do not need government’s help.
“Look, we don’t need government’s help here. We have accepted our fate as Nigerians. We are used to the suffering here. Has government ever done anything for you? If the flood comes again, we will live with it for as long as we have to. This is not a country,” he said angrily.
Lateef Bolagade, who also resides in the community, opined that trying to build a barrier against the water would end in futility.
“Since the time of Babatunde Fashola, government has been trying to stop the flood at Idera (towards Mile 12). If you go there now, you will see those heavy construction equipment there. They sacrificed a human being. The river is still angry. They are still working there as we speak. Do you think white people don’t offer sacrifices to appease river goddesses?
“For us here, I don’t think government will want to go that far us. We are nobody, may be until 25 people die due to flooding. So our sufferings continue,” he submitted.
Ibrahim Alawode, who disclosed that he moved to the community last year, recounted his ordeal. He appealed that the dams should not be emptied into the river at once.
He stated: “I had not been here up to four months, when the flood occurred last year. I recently came to Lagos from Ibadan. There is also a dam in Akaran, Ibadan, that is usually emptied into a river there. They do it gradually because of people living along the coastal areas. If not that my rent has not expired, I would have left this place since after the flood.
Lateefat Hassan, vice chairman, Ikosi Isheri Community Development Committee (CDC) and chairman, Irewole Community Development Association (CDA), said the problem is more than what the Local Government can undertake.
“All the CDA chairmen in Ward G, from Owode-Elede, Maidan, Weighbridge, Kiokio and Ibukun Oluwa, held a meeting last week Wednesday about this very big problem. We agreed that piling the river bank to stop the river from overrunning our community is beyond what the Local Government can do.
“The chairman, Mrs Amiat Bolanle Bada, is also from this very ward, so she understands our plight. But what we are appealing for now is our canal. If government cannot pile the river for us now, they should help us clear our canal. At least if that is done, may be the flood will not be as much as it was last year.
“You won’t even know that the one close to us here is a canal. The one close to Itowolo too has been taken over by weed. But they told us to hold on because of the pandemic that is ravaging everywhere now”, she said.
Hassan, who narrated her ordeal during the 2019 incident, said she wept for three hours, after flood entered her house for the first time since she built it 22 years ago.
She added: “It was an experience that the more I tried to forget, the more I remember. I built this house 22 years ago. Flood has never entered into my house before, no matter what, until last year. I woke up in the night and as I was putting my feet down, it was inside the water. I wept from 3.00am to 6.00am.
“My bed, fridge, matresses, many things were destroyed. Some people here are still picking the pieces of their lives together. Only God and government can help us out.”
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