BY FESTUS OKOROMADU,
Barely five months after the Lagos State Government brought succour to the people of Amukoko, Ojo, Ajegunle by dredging it’s long overdue canal, the situation may have gone worse as it has returned to its earlier state of ‘walkway’ for commuters.
Recall that the state government, in its bid to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19 had embarked on dredging of canals across the state to reduce the effect of floods from ravaging properties and livelihood in its environs.
The canal which demarcated Ajegunle from Amukoko, cut across Alaba-Oro, Ishaga, Jinadu, Aduke, Layinka, Safejo and others, was recently dredged in April after many years of neglect.
However, the effort put in place by the state government may not yield its results as contractors made mockery of the exercise by not clearing effectively the canals neither removing the dirt which later found its way back to the canal.
An investigation carried out by our reporter, revealed that hotels, religious centers, businesses and homes may have offered contractors bribes and hindered their illegal structures built on the ‘Right of Way’ from being destroyed for the efficient dredge.
Further investigation revealed that recent rain had the communities flooded and difficult for residents and passers-by to route.
Also, it was gathered that the absence of adequate supervision by the local government council, had resulted in dumping of refuses and faeces (due to the absence of toilet) by houses at the Ishaga close, Akpasa, Ile-fin areas, inside the drainage system leading to the carnal.
Speaking to our correspondent, residents accused the state of neglect otherwise adequate supervision would have been made.
A businessman and staff at one of the hotels, who identified himself as Mr. Peter Badmos, lauded the state for coming to their rescue in April, adding that, “the problem with government officials is effective monitoring of projects carried out, otherwise there would be a thorough job well done from contractors.
“How is it that those canals dredged just five months ago have returned to their original state where commuters now walk through as dry land? I would employ the state government to query the contractors for embarking on a shallow job. It should not be tolerated as taxpayers money was used to service these machines, workforce and as such efficiency should not be compromised.”
Calling for security agencies to accompany contractors to dredging sites, Mrs. Victoria Ogunjimi, a trader at Alaba–Oro, said “Lagosians and residents of these areas can be very stubborn and as such would need some strict measure to restore sanity once again. All I’m saying is for the government to send security to accompany these contractors to pull down structures that are hindering efficient dredging of the canal.
“I can tell you for certain that I usually ply that Ishaga close to Jinadu, Aduke and other available short cuts, and there are so many illegal structures built on the right of way by the canal that needs to be pulled down. The floods you see in that area are very much uncalled for. The drainage is blocked because there is no access for water to flow from the drains to the canal, hence the little flood when it rained on Saturday. Imagine what it would be like when the rain started falling.
“From the look of things there would be an early downpour after the August break and we are being asked to observe social distancing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which is still prevalent in the country. I am afraid that if it rained in these areas, Lagos state would be finished and overwhelmed because the streets would be filled with temporarily homeless ‘Lagosians’.”
Also, a Cleric at Ishaja close, Pst. Joseph, who had earlier spoken to our correspondent, explained that churches were not exempted from the threat of flood destroying properties, as the auditorium is covered with water whenever it rained. “When it rained in July, homes and properties were badly affected. Churches and other religious places of worship were covered with water. I know of churches close by who had equipment destroyed.
“It is strange because this was not so four years ago because the carnal were thoroughly dredged and dipped unlike the shallow ones seen today. There were law and order before now, but all of these have been watched away by selfish contractors and labourers who are after collecting money and not carrying out their job adequately. This is a curse and I feel bad about how we handle government business which often comes back and bit us at the back.
“As I’m talking to you, go and see people walking on the canal like dry land. I don’t know why we have been neglected and left for ourselves in every aspect. Security in the areas is not adequate; things are not looked at in these areas as they were in the Islands and other environs. The government can do better than what is obtainable at the moment.
On dumping of feases and refuses on the drains, the clergyman lamented that “We have written to the local government council countless times to come and deal with landlords who do not have a toilet built in these areas but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. For lack of toilets at night, you see residents ditching their waste inside the drains. We urged urgency to be given to this matter to avert a folly situation that cannot be contained.”