Residents of the Magada Estate, which is a part of the Ibafo Community Development Council in Ogun State have lamented the adverse effects of flooding they have been experiencing due to the narrow water channel allegedly constructed by Hi-Impact Planet Amusement Park.
The residents, while condemning the company for constructing a narrow waterway for the high volume of wastewater being channelled to the area, said efforts to get the management of Hi-Impact to build a bridge instead had yielded no result.
During a demonstration in front of the amusement park on Saturday, the residents stated that the advent of another rainy season was the reason for their renewed concern.
The women leader of the Magada Estate, Deborah Olawepo, who said some community members had been swept away by flood, appealed to the firm to replace the water channel with a bridge.
She said, “We realised that water no longer moves, because during the construction of the park some years ago, the waterway on the other side of the road was sand-filled. Then, a very small ring was used to channel the water, which is not sufficient to allow the water to pass through. So, whenever there is heavy rainfall, the water that is supposed to go through becomes stagnant.
“We experience this during the rainy season every year and we have appealed to the management of the firm several times, but because those behind it are powerful and have money, they have not attended to us.
“Our children won’t be able to go to schools. We’ve buried people in the community, including a pregnant woman, who were swept away by flood. The management keeps promising without fulfilling such promises since 2016.
“Now, all we are saying is that enough is enough; all we are saying is that the firm should make way for water to flow. It won’t cost it anything other than to remove the ring and replace it with a bridge.”
The Vice Chairman of the Ibafo Area CDC, Olufemi Olaitan, stated that lives and businesses were at risk, adding that the matter was beyond the residents to solve.
He said, “All we are saying is that enough of burying our people and many of our houses are already sinking. Whenever it rains, we start getting worried; movements are restricted for fear of the residents being carried away by the flood.
“The member of the state House of Assembly representing our area came around and toured the area; he said he would meet with the management of the firm, but beyond that, we came out because it is a matter that affects lives. We also call on the state government to look into the matter. We are not disturbing the business, but what we are saying is that a bridge should be constructed to allow the free flow of water.”
However, the Chairman of Hi-Impact Amusement Park, Prince Yanju Lipede, said the park was not responsible for the flooding as it was located on the highland and the opposite side of the community.
He stated that Julius Berger, which is handling the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the Federal Government, were responsible for the construction of a bigger water channel in the area.
Lipede said, “The community is located on the other side of the expressway from where the park is located, so we couldn’t have been responsible for the flooding. Julius Berger contacted the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and it was told that a design had been approved for water to pass through the area without causing problems for the residents.
“The Federal Governments engineer came to talk to the residents and told them that a design was already in place and they just had to be patient. The flooding is not peculiar to the community; once it rains, everywhere becomes flooded, especially those areas in the lowland. The road has been there before we came here and the park is located on a highland. All we did was to put in place an additional pipe for the water to pass through.
“Last year, we had a meeting with the ministry, Julius Berger and the Ogun State Government; the Federal Government said it would take it up because it was its problem; so, I can’t be the one to construct a bridge. What I can do is to ensure that the Federal Government does it and that is what I am doing; I have been helping them to follow it up and it has got to the design and approval stage.”