- Snakes, other reptiles threaten residents
This is definitely not the best of times for the residents of Denro Ishashi community in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The hapless people are currently battling for survival under the siege of a sudden flood that has overrun their community from the overflowing Ogun River.
The worrisome situation, as gathered by The Point, has made many of the residents of the area to relocate from their homes to seek refuge in the homes of friends and relations outside the area.
The Point correspondent, who resides in the area, observed that the major road leading to the community, which is also a link road to other communities around the area, has been submerged and washed away by the flood from the river, leaving the residents at the mercy of daring Hausa men, who make brisk business ferrying residents on their backs across the flooded road to the other side at the cost of N100 per person so carried across the flooded areas.
Some of the residents, who spoke with The Point, said that they had made several efforts to contact the Ogun State Government to come to their aid over the difficulty, but their efforts had yielded no result.
One of the residents, Blessing Thomas, told The Point that her family had become homeless as they had to abandon their residence because of the flood.
“We had to vacate our house when the water came, because we could no longer cope. All our belongings have been destroyed by the flood and we don’t have any option than to leave the house now. As at last week, we were managing to enter our compound with a make-shift bridge that we built with planks, but now, the situation has gone worse, because everything in the house has been submerged under the flood. Our bed, electronics, all of them are floating on water as I am talking to you, and we don’t have other option than to seek refuge somewhere else while we leave our belongings there for now,” she said.
Another resident, Akeem Babalola, told The Point that the situation had made him and his siblings to begin a search for alternative rented apartment for their 76-year-old grandmother.
“We are now looking for a rented house for our grandmother because our house at Iboko, Ishashi, has been taken over by the flood. The house was built for our grandmother by our parents, who reside in Lagos, two years ago, when we bought the old building there. But we didn’t know that the house was sold because of a problem like this. Though as a man, I and my younger brother can still manage to stay in the house with the water that has overtaken our property, but mama cannot, because she is very old. She is around 76 years. She cannot even use the plank bridge that we constructed last week,” he said.
When The Point visited the area three days after the flood broke, it was discovered that through community efforts, a plank bridge has been put in place to help the residents cross the water. Speaking with The Point over the pathetic situation, the Baale of Denro-Olasepe, Chief Lateef Afolabi, said the river usually overflowed its banks every three years.
“We pity people with the stress they go through anytime this river overflows; that is why we usually build plank bridge for people to cross the river. And looking at the present state of the Nigerian economy, people cannot do it but with God’s grace and people’s help, we try to build the plank bridge. I and the Baale of Iwaye, Chief Saka Owolabi Adeyemi, have been constructing this plank bridge for over nine years,” he disclosed.
“On a daily basis, the plank bridge breaks in about four different places, but we have to mend it and that is why we put someone in charge to monitor it. We want the government to help us. The governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, should also come and see it. They should come and help us fix Denro – Ishashi road.
“If they come now, they will see that it is urgent, but if they don’t come now that it is happening, they won’t know the stress people are going through. This is the only route to more than eight communities, and that is why we are calling on government to help us.
“As it is, this road leads to communities like Iwaye, Alasepe, Denro, Ishasi, Iboko, Odo Ipa, Pipeline, Akutesorun, Akute, Arifanla, and others, including Lambe towards Alausa. All the people living in those areas pass through this road. So we are appealing to the governor to help us fix this road.
“The Commissioner for Works should also come and inspect the road so that they will be able to estimate how much it will cost.”
The Baale of Iwaye community, High Chief Adeyemi Owolabi, explained the plight of residents within his community, saying, “This water do disturb us every three years. As a result of this, we encounter a lot of problems every three years. On several occasions, we have called on government to come to our rescue, but when there is no response, we have to source for money to buy planks and build a bridge across the water for people to pass.”
Speaking on the toll collected from residents crossing the plank bridge, Owolabi said, “Since we did it to help people, they are only charged a token of N50, while students, teachers and the aged don’t pay while crossing it. We only collect money from people that are going to work, and a lot of people do pass here to link Lagos State or other parts of Ogun State.
“We want to appeal once again to Governor Ibikunle Amosun to come and see this road or even send his commissioner for works and housing to come and see the situation of things.”
An attendant at the plank bridge, who simply identified himself as Eko, told The Point, “I’m appealing to the administration of Governor Amosun. We have been suffering because of this road for the past 20 years. Anytime the Ogun River dam is opened, the river will overflow, and because of school children, we usually build plank bridge across the river for them to pass.”