Residents of Otumara community in the Lagos Mainland Local Government of Lagos State have written a Save-Our-Soul letters to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the State’s Commissioner for the Environment, Hon Tunji Bello and Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Hon Joe Igbokwe over incessant flooding and other environmental nuisances in the community which, according to them, are making their lives unbearable.
The letters, duly acknowledged by the governor’s office and other concerned parties which was titled, “Request for intervention to clear community’s carnal/ drainage channels” and signed by the traditional head of the community, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye are intended to call the attentions of the governor and the concerned Ministry and parastatal to the deplorable conditions of living and the extent of environment degradation in the community.
According to Kalejaiye, flooding has been a recurring decimal in Otumara community, noting that, it has gotten to a stage where existence and sources of livelihood of residents are threatened by it.
During the last rainy season, Kalejaiye claimed, many residents were displaced from their homes they were submerged by flood that they had to hire pumping machine to evacuate it.
Extract from the letters read, “On behalf of the people of Otumara community, I, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye, the Baale of Otumara kingdom hereby seek your intervention in curbing incessant challenges of flooding and environment nuisances being experienced in the community.
Flooding, especially during rainy season, has been a recurring decimal in our community and it has gotten to a stage where existence and the source of livelihood of residents are threatened by it hence the need for your intervention.
Whenever it rains, the entire community is flooded, why? All connecting drainage channels from Otumara community to Apapa road, Oroku, Ibadan street (west), Olokodana street, Fatiregun Street, Aloba, Raimi Oladimeji street and to the Otto Lagoon have been blocked hence free flow of water obstructed and flooded the community.
On our part, we have made frantic efforts to ensure our community is safe and habitable. We have made efforts to clear both the carnal and all connecting drainages.
To achieve this, we contacted a private environmental services firm and we were told that an excavator cannot be used for the clearance, that a swamp buggy would be required for the job.
Accordingly, we were billed the sum of N7million (Seven Million Naira) as service charge and the cost of hiring the needed equipment.
Sir, I believe the task of carnal/drainage clearance is within the confine of the ministry’s sphere of assignment and as such, I am appealing to the good conscience of the honorable Commissioner Tunji Bello and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainages and Environment, Hon Joe Igbokwe to intervene and save us from the dangers and destructive tendencies of flooding.
Subsequently, we implore the Ministry of the Environment to construct culvert right from the drainage channels starting from outer Otumara community to the Lagoon.
If this is done, there will not be cases of refuse/waste filtering or making their ways into the Lagoon or the drainage systems. Equally, we are calling on the ministry to pay a visit to the community for an inspection of the Environment so as to have a feel of our agonising existence.
Meanwhile, the cause of the frequent blockage and environment nuisance confronting residents in Otumara community is known to us but, sir, it is beyond our powers to handle.
Hon Commissioner, Sir, permit me to say that our challenges are self-inflicted as they were caused by some defiant members of the community who constructed illegal structures/shanties on the carnal and carriage ways.
Attached are pictures of illegal structures constructed in the Lagoon which obstruct the free-flow of water and causes flooding.
We are appealing to you, sir, to urgently intervene to forestall any dire consequence.”