Residents of Odukoya, Ogunleye, Ifeanyi, Igbaja, Lateef Fagbemi and adjoining streets in the Bariga area of Lagos are in confusion as flood has swept through the communities and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
A similar situation is being witnessed in the Akoka area of the state. Our correspondent, who visited the flooded areas on Wednesday, observed that business activities in the affected areas had been suspended as many homes and business premises were severely flooded.
A resident, who identified herself simply as Ann, told PUNCH Metro that many residents had abandoned their homes because they could no longer cope with the flood.
According to her, the problem started about five years ago when the government constructed gutters instead of canals to channel water away from the areas.
She added that the gutters, which were higher than the level of the streets, instead of channelling the water away, empty into the streets, resulting in massive flooding of the areas.
She noted that many churches had been shut, while others had relocated from the communities to avoid fatality owing to strong torrents.
Ann stated, “We are only enduring here. The communities have been suffering from flooding for almost five years. Many people have lost property worth millions of naira to the flood.
“These areas were not like this initially. The problem started when the state government constructed gutters to channel flood water away from the areas.
“Instead of constructing canals, they constructed narrow gutters, which instead of providing solutions, are problems by themselves.
“The gutters are even higher than the streets, and empty water into the streets. When this happens, the flood water, which is usually between three and four feet high, causes panic in the communities.”
A nursing mother, Rose, was seen caring for her baby, who lay on a raised iron bed, while the mother’s legs were in the water.
Rose told our correspondent that there were initially 20 tenants in the house, but only four were remaining because of the flood.
She noted that she also would have left Odukoya Street to avoid possible contamination, especially as the water covers the septic tanks, but for lack of money.
Rose stated, “We have been suffering for the past five years. Most times when the area is flooded, I usually relocate to another area until the water subsides. But I cannot do that every time.
“We were 20 tenants in this house; now, we are only four left.”
A businesswoman, who identified herself simply as Oluchi, said the flood had impacted negatively on her business.
She said she usually experienced low sales during the rainy seasons as most people preferred to remain indoors.
She added that she often would not open her shop because the water being emptied by the gutter was such that nobody would dare walk in it.
In Akoka, the Chairman of the Community Development Association, Mr Olusegun Adesanya, said at least 30 houses had been abandoned by their owners and tenants.
He added that there were abandoned properties everywhere as flood water continued to pound houses, resulting in the foundation and walls becoming weak.
He stated that the most affected areas were Community Road, Afolabi Street and other adjoining areas.
Adesanya added that the drainage system in the areas was poor and called on the government to save the areas before they would be buried in mud.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Mr Joe Igbokwe, said officials from his office would go to the affected areas and find out the situation of things in the communities.
“We will go there and find out the cause of the flooding in the affected areas,” he stated.