The late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who years ago sang Water no get enemy, would have changed his mind with the incessant flooding of Lagos roads. Now, the song on everybody’s lips is Rain! Rain! Go away!
Lagosians have very sorry stories to tell at the drop of the rain, and one community under the threat of being submerged in the Centre of Excellence is the Orile-Agege community, comprising the streets of Oko-Oba, Alaramimo, Alexandra, Egbatedo, Adelekan, Shoritire Close and Egbatedo in Orile Agege Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
The area, which is a deep valley in the belly of Agege, has a canal that stretches from Ota in Ogun State. Much of the water channels from Agege and some part of Ikeja, all converge at Arigbanla Street, to make the area a watershed.
Tuesday’s downpour left many residents of the area in tears as the overflowing Arigbanla Canal, which was recently reconstructed by the Lagos State government, flooded surrounding streets and destroyed property, including cars, valued at millions of Naira. The rain, which started in the early hours of the day, gave affected residents no notice to move their belongings from harm’s way.
Mr. Oluwole Solomon, one of the flood victims, blamed the overflow of the canal to the shallowness of the redesigned Arigbanla Canal. “When work was ongoing on the canal, the community complained that it was not deep enough for rainwater to pass true the place. In fact, the project was not completed before the governor came to commission it.”
By happenstance, the rains dropped for about 20 minutes when The Guardian visited, and the resultant flooding, through the canal to the adjoining streets, told the story of the looming danger.