…Link Bridge has become a death trap-residents cry oute
For residents of Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle, a border community between Lagos and Ogun states, life takes a frightening twirl, yearly when the rainy season begins.
Ironically, the season which ought to be a harbinger of blessing brings residents so much pain and distress as the only link bridge into the community collapsed several years back.
The situation ipledge2nigeria learned has caused several residents, especially children to be swept into the canal by the raging flood anytime it rains.
When ipledge2nigeria visited the community, it was discovered that the link bridge in their community has collapsed and needed urgent repair as it has become a death trap killing people due to erosion. The erosion has worsened the state of the dilapidated bridge. Commuters avoid the dilapidated bridge. No doubt, the situation is a disaster waiting to happen as houses and business centres including offices close to the canal, will soon cave in as the canal walls are gradually been washed off by erosion.
The Folashade Tinubu market at the Ojokoro end of the bridge has been consumed by erosion resulting in traders relocating from the market due to fear of being swept away.
Speaking to ipledge2nigeria, a trader in the community, Mrs Omotayo said the canal is the boundary between Lagos state and Ogun state. “When someone is coming from Lagos into our community, this is the road they pass through. Unfortunately, whenever it rains, the flood usually sweeps people away. Once it begins to rain, I close my shop; take my children and run back home. Because once the carnal is full nobody can pass through the link bridge. Recently, flood swept a young man Mathew who was trying to cross through the link bridge. His corpse was discovered later.”
Mr Jimoh Folajimi revealed that apart from a meat seller identified as Mathew and the wife of our Community Development Association chairman and several others have died after they were swept into the flooded canal during downpours. The CDA chairman’s wife was swept into the flood while crossing through the link bridge. Before she could be rescued she died. Our children keep falling into the canal when returning from school each time it rains, we need help”
Calling on the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Authority NEMA, Mustapha Habib to save them from impending disaster, Jimoh Folajimi said the community needs urgent intervention. “Our appeal to NEMA is a desperate one as the canal and link Bridge in our community have become death traps, killing people due to flooding. The bridge is already collapsing while the canal needs urgent repair.”
The resident’s appeal came after sending several letters to the Lagos and Ogun state governments to fix the flood-prone canal and bridge to no avail.
It was learned that at a point, residents in the community had to embark on self-help by sand filling the canal and using drums including spending millions to ward off the raging flood anytime it rains but, it has not yielded any result,” Folajimi added.
Lamenting, the Chairman, Community Development Association, Ilo Ajegunle Boundary, Pastor Jeremiah Omomogbe said “We have over 100,000 residents and the canal is worst now. We have written letters to The Lagos State Ministry of Environment and they have been here to assess it. They drew a plan on paper that they will soon start work. They came with their equipment and left. I have taken more than twenty letters to governor Sanwo-Olu and the ministry. I went to the engineer called Mr Sanusi at Obalende area to ask why they left without repairing the canal but they did not give me any favourable answer.’’
Chief Mrs Bose Ibrahim the leader of the Folashade Market Ilo Oja said, “This market was given to the traders by Folashade Tinubu. She bought five plots of land and gave them out for market but flooding from the dredging of the canal is washing away the market. We loaded five Lorries of sand daily to stop the erosion to no avail. The situation is beyond us and government needs to intervene urgently to save our livelihood but for more than four years, nothing has been done.’’
Mr Suraju Ojikuto, the chairman of the Abattoir in the Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle community while speaking on the danger the canal poses said, “ There was a time it rained heavily during the day and three children going home fell and the canal wall collapsed. They have been swept away. Fortunately, some of our meat sellers saw what happened and they quickly jumped into the floodwater and rescued the children and took them home. The rain has started again and the flood is sweeping people to their graves. We need help.”