by Samson Folarin
Residents of Alakuko Road in Ifo Local Government Area, Ogun State, have started packing out of their buildings due to the perennial problem of flooding they experience anytime it pours.
Our correspondent learnt that no fewer than 20 houses had been abandoned by their owners after rain damaged their property last year.
It was learnt that the Alakuko Road, also known as Bale Animashaun Road, borders Ogun and Lagos states, making both state governments responsible for the welfare of the residents.
The residents, however, said both state governments, unable to decide which part of the street belong to them, left the area to deteriorate.
A landlord, Mr. Oyelade George, said, “When I got to this area about 25 years ago, there was no problem of flooding. But few years ago, we started having the problem when all kinds of drainages were being constructed, resulting in flood water cascading down and overflowing into our community.
“We wrote to the Ogun and Lagos state governments to help us. It was the Lagos State Government that came first and constructed a canal called Majeobaje Canal. Unfortunately, the canal worsened the situation because by the time the Ogun State Government came to handle its own side, the work was not balanced. We discovered it was lopsided to the point that whenever it rains, the water from the Majeobaje Canal which is upstream, flows to the Ifelodun Canal, which is the Ogun State side, overflowing into our houses, churches and schools.
“As a result of this, many people have started selling their houses. More than 20 houses have been abandoned. Now we don’t sleep again. Some of us keep our valuables inside the ceiling to keep them safe from the wrath of the flood.”
Our correspondent was taken round some of the abandoned houses, some of which were already being overtaken by weeds.
Our correspondent observed that some houses on Remi Olagunju and Owotutu streets had been abandoned by their owners.
A landlord, Adegbite Ademola, told reporters that only few landlords and pensioners presently live in the area because they had no alternative.
“The tenants have all gone away. Most of the retirees who built houses with the hope of renting them out to tenants have been disappointed because nobody will come to rent a house in this place with its constant flooding. Many of the landlords have already left.
“Some retirees, who ought to get their pension, have no documents again because they have been destroyed by the flood. Some of them have died from hypertension. Many are living in hunger. Some of us who insisted on staying behind had to build ladders that take us into our houses.”
It was learnt that desperate residents formed an association, Agbado Ijaye Joint Canal Committee, to make further appeal to the two state governments.
A meeting was reportedly held with the permanent secretaries from the state governments’ ministries of environment.
A report on the meeting which was obtained by our correspondent showed that it was decided that the canal on both sides should be widened to be able to collect rain water.
It was learnt that while the promises made at the meeting had not been fulfilled, residents panicked because it had been reported that rains would come early in 2014.
A resident, Olatomi Abe, urged the two state governments to balance the flow of water in the flood ravaged area.
A top officer in the Lagos State Department of Drainage, Ministry of Environment, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the government did not have sufficient funds to handle all the projects in the state.
“We will remember them at the appropriate time. The state presently does not have sufficient funds for its entire projects. There are many places like that with such problems. We have not forgotten them.”
The Director of Drainage, Ogun State, could not be reached as his phone was switched off. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Kayode Adamolake, also did not pick his calls.