“I have never seen flooding like this in all my life. It was a surprise to me that the lockup shop that I left the day before the flooding was totally covered by water when I returned a day after and all the cushioned chairs and wood for my work were totally soaked in water. Since the incident I have depended on goodwill of the public to feed. Government should come to our rescue...'-Ikedioha James, Upholstery maker



Location: Ajegunle in Ikorodu LGA, Lagos State
Date of visit: 19 October, 2010

ERA/FoEN monitors visited several communities in Ikorodu and Ojodu-Berger areas of  Lagos on 19 October 2010 following a save our souls (SOS) from community folks who alerted that their houses and property have been overun by water released from the Oyan Dam managed by the Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority.

The Oyan Dam is on the outskirts of Ogun State and was commissioned in 1983.
In the course of the field trip, ERA monitors were able to identify nine badly affected communities. They are: Ojodu-Berger, Ikosi-Ketu, Mile 12, Ajilete, Thomas Laniyan Estate, Owode-Elede, Owode-Onirin, Agboyi, Odogun and Maidan. It was gathered that communities in Ogun State that also suffered the same fate are Isheri Olofin, Isheri Oke, Kara, and Warewa.
Community folks informed that though flooding in the communities had been a regular occurrence since 2007, the current flooding which started early October 2010 was actually instigated by the River Basin Authority which, unlike it normally did in the past, failed to notify community people of its plans to release excess water from the dam.
On its part, the River Basin Authority said the release of the water was targeted at stopping the dam from bursting following incessant rains which had made the facility take in more water than required.
ERA monitors discovered that in most of the affected communities, especially in Odogun Oniyanrin and Ikosi-Ketu areas of Mile 12 as well as Owode-Elede near Ojodu-Berger, major streets had been totally cut off by the water and made totally impassable as people could only be ferried from one point to the other by wooden boats imported to the communities by individuals that wanted to make brisk business from their plight. Those who could not pay the fares were seen wading through the dirty water to get in and out of their homes.
The plight of the community folks has however been worsened by the threat of the Lagos State government which provided a temporal relief camp to house them in Agbowa, near Ogun State, but may also have concluded arrangements to demolish their settlements.  They alerted that the targeted settlements are ancestral lands that have existed before the construction of the dam hence its demolition would violate their rights and make them homeless.

In the affected communities, it was observed that lock-up shops, private schools, several companies, and houses were under lock and key as the owners have been forced to relocate temporarily.
At Owode Elede, a popular livestock market near Ojodu-Berger, monitors detected that the surge completely overran the market and forced livestock owners to move their cows and goats to safer areas. The market which used to be a bee-hive of activity was a ghost of itself when the ERA team visited.
At Odogun Oniyanrin in Ajegunle, known for its huge number of upholstery makers, it was learnt that most of the traders were taken unawares. The few that were seen trying to salvage some of their chairs and tables that were not ruined by the flood lamented their fate as they moved their drenched cushioned seats out of the lock-up shops for sun-drying.
At Ojodu-Berger, virtually all the state-owned and private schools on either side of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway close to the Lagos Toll Gate were noticed to be deserted as the waters made it impossible for both pupils and teachers alike to gain access to the schools. A parent, Mrs. Latifat Rasheed told monitors that she would not risk her life and that of her six-year old child to get across to the school on a wooden canoe. She expressed shock at the level of the water and revealed she was contemplating relocating her child from the school.

Despite the suffering of the affected communities, the Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority maintains it had done nothing wrong in releasing the water, insisting that it would have been more disastrous if the dam was allowed to collapse. It also claimed that most of the properties destroyed by the flood water were those on the river beds which should have been green areas.
Public Relations Officer of the River Basin, Mr. Femi Dokumu is alleged to have said the Authority will continue the release of water as long as heavy rains still being experienced in the country continues.
Meanwhile, the response of the Lagos and Ogun State governments have also not in any way assuaged the feelings of devastation community folks on both sides feel. While the Ogun State government concurred with the River Basin Authority and argued that the community folks were living on illegal lands, the gesture of the Lagos State government in providing temporary shelter for hundreds of families in Agbowa, close to Ogun State is viewed with suspicion.
Members of household that benefitted from the relocation see the state government move as a camouflage which will be swiftly followed with the demolition of their ancestral lands.
Emmanuel Ebiyan, a traditional medicine practitioner and father of five whose apartment was swallowed by water in Ketu explained to ERA monitors:
“Plans by the Lagos State government to chase us from lands that our parents bequeathed to us is wicked and will not solve the flooding problem. My parents settled here from Ughelli in present day Delta State in the 1950s even before that dam was built so how can they tell us to give way to the dam?”

He was quick to add that “There is real suffering at the relief camp where they forced us to move to. It is even worse than what prisoners face. My wife and five children are now suffering from malnutrition because of poor quality food provided there. It is so sad that even infants are made to queue up to get poor quality food which they were used to. The food comes late and they give us watery beans most time. We have learnt that officials of the state that are supposed to feed us have started diverting bags of foodstuff like rice and beans to make quick cash and yet the state government said we have to be there for six months. This is too much to bear”. 


Mrs. Adejoke Kassim, Trader
“Evicting us from our ancestral lands is not the solution to the flooding because there will still be more floods since  the river basin said it will continue to release water. What the state government should do is build a fence around the communities by the side of the Ogun River so that the water cannot overrun the towns and then rebuild the only road here to the level of the Kyokyo Bridge which was not affected when the water raged..”

Ikedioha James, Upholstery maker,
“I have never seen flooding like this in all my life. It was a surprise to me that the lockup shop that I left the day before the flooding was totally covered by water when I returned a day after and all the cushioned chairs and wood for my work were totally soaked in water. Since the incident I have depended on goodwill of the public to feed. Government should come to our rescue..”

Mrs. Joy Omame, Trader, Odogun Oniyanrin Community
“The flood has affected my trading in foodstuff because people no longer come here. But my greatest dilemma is the plan of the Lagos State government to demolish our buildings. I was born and brought up here and my grandparents lived here so how can we leave here because of the dam which was not here when we started living here. Breaking our houses is not the solution. The solution is the upgrading and reconstruction of the Odogun Road which leads to Mile 12… ”

Babatunde Owolabi, Livestock seller, Odogun Oniyanrin Community
“My wife and three children are at the Agbowa relief camp and it pains me to see what they feed them there. Most of my property got missing in the confusion that followed the flood so I am already at a loss but we have no option because my business is already ruined. Water is supposed to be a blessing but this one is the action of man and it has brought destruction….”


ERA monitors observed that since most of the roads have been totally covered by water, most community folks now use wooden canoes and construct makeshift bridges to access their homes. In most of the places visited, waste of all kinds were noticed floating in the water and if swift actions are not taken to address the situation, health hazards will soon follow.
At Odogun, it was noticed that the flooding of the major road was possible because of a bad portion of the road which was observed to have formed a depression through which water flowed into the road and into residences on the other side.

•    Lagos and Ogun State government should provide adequate relief materials to evacuated community folks in Agbowa
•    Lagos and Ogun State governments should provide permanent settlement for evacuated households rather than a temporal settlement
•    The Ogun/Osun River Basin Authority should take responsibility for the disaster and compensate the impacted people
•    The Federal Government should immediately rehabilitate the Odogun road to stem rising water from the Ogun River which is also a cause of the huge traffic on the route.

•    Send a letter to your legislator (Local Government, State and Federal ) to demand that the Lagos and Ogun State governments properly rehabilitate the affected community folks and compensate them for loss of livelihoods
•    Demand the rehabilitation and upgrade the Odogun Road to the level of the Kyo Kyo Bridge so that the road will no longer be susceptible to flooding
•    Write to the management of the Ogun/Osun River Basin Authority to imbibe international best practices in its operations to forestall recurrence of the flood incident  
•    Write to the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) to intervene and provide relief to displaced households 

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