Raining Season is a blessing to many people for different reasons. For some households, it is a huge relief from the heat and hot weather conditions. But for residents in flood-prone areas, like Orile-Agege, Oke-koto, Alfa-Nla, Moricaz an ancient Lagos community, it is a burden they have to contend with every year. Flooding caused by downpours has claimed lives and destroyed property in the neighborhood.
A four-year-old girl identified simply as Azeezat whose parents live on Fashola Street, Orile-Agege, was the latest victim. They had wanted to escape with her and her brother after their apartment was flooded on June 18. Unfortunately, the little girl fell into the drainage channel in front of their house.
he was carried away to a far distance where her corpse was later recovered. The tragic incident threw her parents and the whole community into mourning, but it was just an instance of heartbreak the locals endured every rainy season.
“We lose lives almost every year,” a landlady on Fashola Street, Mrs. Sidikat Arifajogun.
“It was neighbors who rescued me from my house that day. Everywhere was flooded and I could not move.”
For the elderly woman, who is in her late 70s, it was a close shave with death as floodwater took over her apartment and damaged her property.
At an age when she is supposed to lounge at home and savor moments in peace, it is the thought of imminent erosion that preoccupies her mind whenever it is about to rain.
She said, “My son sent some money to me for feeding a day before the incident happened. I didn’t know how the money got lost while battling with the flood. All my foodstuffs got spoilt by water.
Residents blamed the incessant flooding on the alleged failure of the state government to construct an inner road on Igbayilola Street, and the low depth of a newly constructed drainage channel on the street.
They complained about the high volume of water from neighboring communities discharged through the drainage, thereby overflowing to surrounding houses.
“If the road on Igbayilola is constructed and the canal down the street is cleared, we wouldn’t have flooding problem again. The government should do something about it. We don’t want to lose anybody again,” the landlady added.
One of her tenants, Mrs. Omoniyi Victoria, said after the June 18 disaster, they spent three days to eject water from their homes with a pumping machine.
She said, “The flood also destroyed a lot of property – electronics, chairs, and clothes. I have been living here for 10 years but the damage caused by a flood that day had never been this much.
“Whenever it is about to rain, our minds won’t be at rest. We can’t sleep at night once it starts raining. The government should do something about it. They are telling us to relocate but we don’t have anywhere to go to.”
An estate agent, Mr. Olanrewaju Oni, lamented that flooding in the area was disastrous. He alleged that the contractor that constructed the drainage channel did a shoddy job which caused great losses in the community.
“How would they construct a gutter and make it pass for a canal?” he queried.
“This is the constituency of the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa. During the last electioneering, he was taken around the whole area. People cannot pass through Igbayilola, Raji, Olabode, and Kushoro streets during the rainy season because those areas are usually flooded.
“Whenever there is little rain, this place will be flooded and a lot of houses on the streets are affected. All the water channels here need to be cleared for the free flow of water. I become afraid once it is cloudy in the rainy season.”
Another resident, James Lucky, also expressed fears that the community was in for more dangers if the government did not find solutions to the perennial flooding.
He stated, “They stopped the construction of the road (on Igbayilola Street) before the last election. Water from different parts of Papa Ashafa is channeled towards this area. The drainage channel is small and can’t contain the volume of the water.
“There is anxiety among residents once it’s about to rain. I was in the office on Monday when it rained. I was disturbed and thinking that our compound would have been flooded again. It was when I didn’t receive any call from home that I put my mind to rest. Already all my property has been destroyed by the flood.”
A landlord on Kushoro Street, Mr. Bidemi Moses, said the erosion became serious in the area five years ago and made the street impassable for vehicles.
Like Arifajogun, the 80-year-old landlord panics over rains that many see as a blessing. Many times, he wishes it never rains.
“The last time we felt the impact of government was during Jakande’s era when this road (Kushoro Street) was tarred. We had this problem because of the volume of water from different directions channeled into this street. From here, the water flows to Igbayilola Street
“I always have sleepless nights when it rains because we don’t know the extent of the havoc it will cause. We are waiting for the government to come to our rescue. The flood is affecting us seriously. We don’t pray for rain in this area for now,” he said, rather frankly.
The sad tale is the same on Egbatedo Street. A shop owner, Mrs. Sherifat Taiwo, told our correspondent that her grandchildren no longer pass the night at home for fear of sudden downpours.
She said, “I’m always restless during the rainy season. We stay awake at night if it rains. Since a four-year-old girl was swept away by water, I have been taking my grandchildren to my relative’s house in the neighboring community to sleep because our house can be flooded at night.
“What causes flooding here is the blocked canal. We have to use baskets to remove some of the waste. The government should come to our aid.”
The Chairman, Mulero-Ashafa Community Development Association, Alhaji Adisa Korodo, said both government and dwellers should be blamed for the damage caused by floods.
Korodo, who is also an executive member of, Community Development Committee, Orile-Agege, stated, “Two weeks ago, some officials from the Ministry of the Environment came to inspect this area. They promised to start work on Igbayilola Street last week but we are still expecting them.
“However, we shouldn’t blame the government alone. Some people are in the habit of throwing waste into the gutter. The major cause of the flooding is the low depth of the drainage channel. It overflows whenever it rains heavily.”