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Hidden victims of Lagos, Ogun communities’ flood



Hidden victims of Lagos, Ogun communities floods
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The elderly and children, especially those in primary and secondary schools bear the brunt of the ineptitude of the government in tackling the perennial issues of flooding which has drove many out of their homes, stranded the elderly who happened to be too weak to outrun the ravaging flood, and prevented children from going to schools.

Findings by shows that residents living in or around estates like Warewa commonly called Wawa, Isheri Riverview and Opic, Mokore, Arigbede, Banku are mostly hit by this recent surge in flood.

Residents living around these areas who spoke with claimed they were the worst hit by the flood because it practically submerged their homes, perhaps because of their proximity to the ocean and Lagoon.

While some residents of the affected areas have resorted to helping themselves, some have simply taken advantage of the situation; seeing it as a quick means of business venture.

For instance, a 2-minute journey to and fro their houses cost between N300 and N500 for canoe ride in some parts of Wawa.

Meanwhile, while the canoe ride is for those who could still manage to stay in their houses, those that the flood did not get inside but outside their houses; the flood practically sacked some others, who managed to take a few of their belongings and move out of the area.

READ ALSO: Abiru expresses concerns over plight of Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu flood victims

This is particularly challenging for older people who struggle to regulate their body temperatures, especially if they are on medication. It is even worse for the hundreds of children, despite their age, who had stopped going to school due to the floods. also gathered that for families who had young children who had to go to school, the situation had been hellish, while families, whose houses had been flooded and could not afford hotel costs, had to remain in their water-logged houses.

Alhaji Akeem Ismaila, 70 whose community borders OPIC along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, escaped the floods with his family, but he couldn’t move very quickly.

Many older people like Alhaji Ismaila feel like they are a burden on their families. Hundreds of others like him have been abandoned, and yet to get any respite from the government as more rains pummeled them.

The man, looking miserable and lost, said he lost all his money, home, crops, animals and food.


“Suddenly, one night, when almost all the residents had retired to bed, the flood level surged high and penetrated houses, streets and everywhere and almost submerged us as individuals,” he explained.

“Before the floods, we were busy farming and earned a decent living, but now, we have lost everything except our lives,” he said. “We are depressed and really worried about our losses.”

Ismaila said he has contracted hepatitis from the muddy water and has been unable to access the medication he needs.

READ ALSO: NEMA assesses flooding in Ogun communities

His story isn’t unique. Many older people who were forced to stand in water for a long time now have respiratory problems, including asthma, even if they previously did not suffer from these conditions.

Many community leaders in the affected areas blamed the release of accumulated waters from Oyan Dam, situated in Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State and heavy rains.

But Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, water resources and sanitation, Joseph Utsev, said the recurring floods in Ogun and Lagos were caused by climate change and not the Oyan Dam water release.

Utsev, who disclosed this during a visit to some affected communities in Lagos and Ogun, dams are crucial in flood management and irrigated agriculture, adding that the federal government has developed a comprehensive strategy to better manage flooding nationwide.

According to him, Oyan Dam, boasting of a significant 270 million-cubic-metre capacity reservoir, remains in excellent condition and should not be held accountable for the recent flooding incidents.

Also during a visit to affected communities, Ogun state Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya, said flash floods were responsible for the flood, noting that the rainfall in the state is expected  to reach 3,646mm of rainfall between April and November this year.

However, the residents who spoke with faulted the arguments, noting that the dam failed to release water at the appropriate time of the year due to its commercialisation and the cage fishing activities going on in the dam.

Speaking on the aegis of the Isheri North GRA Community Development Association, the residents said it was unfortunate that the minister could make such “unguided utterances” without a proper assessment of the situation.

READ ALSO: Edo, Delta, six other states risk more flood as Cameroon opens Lagdo dam


The residents said that while the management of the Ogun Osun River Basin Development Authority had in a document issued in September 2022 agreed that commercial fishing activities could be confined to levels below 56m above sea level, it had refused to implement this agreement.

According to them, the dam was not designed for industrial fishing but for recreational purposes, adding that the Ogun State government never issued any recreational and/or industrial fishing licenses to the companies at the dam.

The residents asked why their lives and property must be put at risk to satisfy the commercial interests of some individuals.

“Why should private enterprises with zero investment in the construction of Oyan Dam be allowed to use the reservoir in such a way as to defeat one of the priority purposes, that is flood control, for which the dam was built?” they asked in a statement.

According to another senior citizen who lives around Kosefe, along Keu, it was his Area’s Rescue Team that came to rescue him and his family at midnight when the flood came, choking them above the bed level.

“The flood had been there quite alright and we have been managing to meander through it, back and forth, thinking that before it could get worse, it would have either lessened or the government would have urgently come to our rescue, especially on the Canals in my area.

“Since, we don’t have extra money to move to a better part, we simply look for ways to manage this Natural crisis whenever it comes up. I just came around now to monitor the level and from what I see before me right now, it is a bit high. I will have to go back to Ogba, an axis of Lagos where we temporarily moved to.”

According to the Chairman of the Isheri Estate Community, Mr Gbenga Osobu, three persons have died since the flood began, adding that 48 families had been resettled within the estate.

The ISECOM chairman also said, “The worth of properties here are in billions of naira. Businesses have been killed here; no commercial activities like before in the last 13 days, we look like a ghost town deserted by people.”

Meanwhile, the management of the dam had absolved itself of blame, saying water would always find its path, and that when water was released to protect the integrity of the dam, the release would inevitably affect houses on the flood plain.

Osobu debunked comments that the area was along flood plain, stating that the estate, especially Isheri North, was conceived when the President, Bola Tinubu, was the governor of Lagos State.

He stated, “These lands were properly allocated, building plans were approved and Certificates of Occupancy or Governor’s consent was obtained for people to build there, except we have some other natural challenges that would prevent people from living here, because some people have lived here for 15 to 16 years.”

He further described the flooding as a combination of natural and man-made factors, which he said could be resolved.