Residents of Lagos communities urged to relocate over high probable risk of flood, due to expected intensity of rainfall, have lamented that they have nowhere to go.
Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources in Lagos State, had warned that Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Eti-Osa, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, among others, will witness flooding due to heavy rainfall between June and September this year.
Consequently, Bello advised those living in low-lying structures and flood-prone areas to relocate in order to avoid loss of lives and property.
Forecast from the Annual Flood Outlook released by the Hydrological Services Agency on May 28, 2020, predicted that four councils in the state will be most hit by flood.
Newsbreak visited Mushin, Ikorodu and Eti-Osa, after part of the areas were affected by flood in June.
In Ikorodu, residents of Palapo town, a community, part of which is low-lying, said governments in other climes provide alternative shelters for their citizens when a disaster has been forecast.
Abiodun Salako said the drainage system in the community is poorly constructed.
“People really suffered here during that six days of rainfall in June. Though we don’t have proper drainage system in this Alogba extension because what they said is that people have built houses on drainage channels. But now that the government is advising people to relocate, the question is to where,”? He asked.
Angela Ebube, another resident, said government should have provided alternative accommodation for people before advising them to leave.
“Most people here struggled to build a place for their families. Government cannot just say people should leave. There was flood in June but people counted their losses and moved on. Where should people go to? What alternative have they provided like in other countries? Nobody will die and God will keep people who have been doing everything on their own,” she stated.
Lateef Teretumi, Baale of Ebute-Iga, another Ikorodu community located by the lagoon, told our correspondent that the government has raised a genuine concern because the area was flooded for the time this year.
“We heard about the announcement on radio, but can I tell people to just leave? If government had said move to this place then come back after the rain, we will all gladly go.
“I said government’s concern is genuine because I am 72 years old and this community got flooded for the time in June since I was born. I was born here and it has never been flooded before. My only advice to my people is if they have where to go, fine, if they can stay and manage the situation, it is also fine, “he stated.
Chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA), Aladenusi Michael Ojo, blamed the flooding on wrong channelization of drainage in Ebute-Iga.
Ojo noted that several letters have been written to the state government about it, to prevent what happened in June.
“We’ve written several letters to the state government since 2014 over proper channelization of drainage in Ebute-Iga, so that we won’t experience flooding like what happened in June.
“Our community is close to the lagoon as you can see. No proper drainage to carry rain water from this community into the lagoon. We were invited to Ikeja and governor Babatunde Fashola promised that they are coming to do concrete drainage for us. I came back, told my people and they started jubilating.
“Since then, we haven’t seen anything. The government has neglected us. They only come here to canvass for votes and after then, you won’t see any of them again,” he decried.
Also, residents of Idi Oro and Idi Araba in Mushin, which also suffered flooding this year, recounted their ordeal.
Agnes Balogun, a 70-year-old woman, said government should have provided proper drainage channels and cleared the canals, rather than ask people to relocate from flood-prone areas.
“In June, the flood was so much that water got to my waist level here in Idi Oro. Look at the shallow drainage channels everywhere. People lost valuables in the incident. How many of us did government help, even with coronavirus that has made us poorer. Now you are saying people should relocate, to the village or where?” she queried.
Sadiq Adeleke, a tricycle rider in the area, noted that flooding in Idi Oro is usually caused by blocked drainage on Agege motor road.
“From this Agege motor road, water coming from Mushin spills to the road. We keke riders dare not operate here. You always have to tow cars away from here. It flows all the way from here beyond the banana market and into other streets. The drainage on the main road is filled with plastic bottles. Those who pack the drainage don’t do it well, so it makes it easier for everywhere to get flooded.
“I understand that government is trying to warn people, but where should they go? Life as a Nigerian is hard already. They should make provision if they are advising people to relocate,” he opined.
At Idi Araba, Abdullahi Oseni, secretary to the Seriki of a Hausa community that was also flooded on Alhaji Ahmadu Abubakar Street, located close to the canal, told Newsbreak that the people will cope, as they are already used to flooding.
“I’m just hearing from you that the government is advising people in flood-prone areas of the state to relocate. I will confirm with the Local Government chairman, but we are already used to flood here. No proper drainage system. The canal is also not well taken care of. Where do you tell people who are managing life to go to? It will come and go,” he submitted.
Peaceville Estate in Badore, Ajah, Eti-osa Local Government Area of the state, was one of the most flooded areas on Lagos Island in June.
Residents of the estate said they lost properties worth millions of Naira in the incident for the second year.
Bode Adeniran, a resident of the estate, stated that another estate in the area built houses on the path of the canal created to carry water into the lagoon.
“I brought you here so that you will understand what we have been going through. Greenville Estate opposite us here built houses on the way of the canal that is supposed to carry water from our area and empty it into the lagoon. It was a total disaster for people living in this estate. Flood got up to the waist of grown up adults.
“It’s not about the government telling people to relocate, they should come and do the right thing. At VGC, flood covered vehicles. We’ve reported this matter to the government several times, wrote letters, but nothing has been done about it,” he said.
Another resident, Mary Thompson, blamed their ordeal on the state government.
“Where was the government advising us to relocate when Greenville built houses on the way of the canal that was built to carry water into lagoon? We lost properties worth millions of Naira in this estate during that serious rainfall in June because of what is not our fault,” she complained.
George Adeoye, whose properties were also affected in the estate, said the situation almost led to a confrontation between the two estates.
However, Kola Herbert, manager of Greenville Estate, said only the state government can decide if houses in the estate are blocking the canal.
He also alleged that Peaceville failed to create adequate drainage channel within their estate.
“We empathized with them because that flood in June was much. But they have been saying houses in our estate are sitting on the way of the canal. They should allow the state government to decide that, and if the government said they will demolish it, the owners will know what to do.
“They failed to create sufficient drainage channel in their estate. They approached us that they wanted to channel the drainage through a different route and link it to our own and we told them the water will be disturbing us. They came as if they wanted to fight. When they are calm, the excos of both estates will sit and talk,” he stated.