For now, rain is not an occurrence residents of Owutu, an area in Ikorodu, Lagos State, pray for. Each time rain falls, it comes with horrific experiences.
The aftermath of rainfall in the area, residents say, is usually flood on roads, blockage of streets and sewage, hike in transport and freight fee, as well as difficulty in movements.
Situated along the popular Agric bus stop in Ikorodu, Owutu houses a number of communities that make up Ikorodu West Local Government. Asolo, Isawo, Ojokoro, Agbede, Ori-Okuta, Igbo-Olomu are some of these communities.
Visits to the area by our correspondent on Monday and Tuesday reveal the difficulty residents in the area face each time there is a heavy downpour.
“Can you see? This is just a rain that lasted for one hour. How about when the rain begins to fall continuously — for three consecutive days, for instance?” a woman, whose route from her residence on Olu Adebayo street to the main road has been blocked by flood, said with disgust.
It is not her street alone that is blocked by flood. Other adjoining streets like Gunwa-Ola and Omodisu have their entrances blocked by flood.
Last Sunday when a heavy rain fell, 55-year-old Olanrewaju Jaji said her son was ‘hurled’ in the flood that has covered the Asolo-Isawo road of the area.
“As you can see, when rain falls here, it comes with droppings from hell.
“My son had just completed his university education in the University of Ibadan. He was returning home last Monday with his heavy luggage when the okada rider that he ‘carried’ hurled him inside the flood.
“I thank God that he was not injured as a result of that — or something worse. But this situation is serious. This road ought to have been done to a stage where rain won’t be of serious damage before the rain came.”
As for Lekan Toheeb, a tricycle rider (commonly called keke napep), working with the condition of the road has not been a good experience to savour.
He apparently looked disturbed but he managed to bare his mind.
“It is not a good experience at all. This rainy season is giving us headache. Workers can’t go to work. Since morning, my keke has broken down. Please help us beg the government to do something. I’ve been here for the past two hours, repairing my keke,” a disgruntled Lekan lamented before resuming the repair.
True to his word, our correspondent observed people who turned back home because of the difficulty in transporting themselves to their places of work.
Mrs Adebayo, a trader in Asolo area, spoke of her frustration. She lamented the hike in transport fare that accompanies such downpours.
“Transport fare to Agric is now N500,” she said. “When it is as if we are going to Ibadan. Normally, it is N100, or even N50. As a result of this rain, we have to pay more for transport.
“See the front of my shop, flood. I had to use this stick to divert the dirt it came with elsewhere. It’s just too hard for us.”
Another tricycle rider, Qosim, recalled the state of the road before the state government began expanding it. He blamed the hardship they face on the negligence the road has suffered since last year, the last time work was done on the road.
“This problem began since when the bitumen on the road was scrapped off,” Mr Qosim recounted. “Had it been they didn’t scrape it off then, it wouldn’t have been this difficult.”
He added: “Each time rain falls, it results in potholes here and there. Had it been the road was level, one can still maneuver one’s way on it.
“But if you, unknowingly, ride your keke into those holes and the keke sucks water, it will break down immediately. It is water that caused the breakdown of those you see there,” Qosim said, pointing at tricycles being fixed by their riders.
He suggested a rapair of the road as a solution to the challenge they face.
He, however, expressed his scepticism on the readiness of the state government to restart work on the abandoned road expansion project started in 2018. “Since they left in November/December, the road has gone from bad to worse.”
In June last year, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the project will be completed between March and April of this year. It is May already, but this promise has not be fulfilled.
When contacted, the Lagos state Commissioner for Information, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said he is bedridden and cannot “speak for now”.
Also, efforts to get the Commissioner for Works to speak have not been successful.