By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor
FOR the residents of Ogombo community in Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, it is time the village shed its toga of primitive settlement and caught up with its neighbours in the Lekki-Ajah corridor, which includes Awoyaya, Sangotedo, Ibeju-Lekki, Okun-Ajah and Ajah and others.
With inhabitants predominantly fishermen and farmers, Ogombo, which is estimated to have a landmass of over 2,000 hectares, is daily receiving influx of settlers from other parts of Lagos.
The prospects of this relatively unpopular community look bright as the ruling families are in possession of a global Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) covering 550.11 hectares, which is more than Lagos Island. Residents claim that Ogombo is the largest community in the whole of Eti-Osa.
There are many notable organisations in the neighbouring community among which is the Pan African University. Prominent corporate and individual citizens have acquired most of the plots in the adjacent areas and the community is close to the proposed site at Epe that had been mapped out for the Lagos airport and deep seaport.
Residents of the place, some of whom have built impressive mansions, cannot boast to their colleagues and friends that they are living in the highbrow Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos.
The reason is that, no matter the make of your vehicle, whether sedan or sports utility, you can’t drive it to your house in the area because of the appalling state of the roads. The vehicles are parked at some distance away from their owners’ homes precisely at the community square, where development partially ends. After the cars are safely parked, their owners trudge through the sandy roads to their houses.
For those who do not know the community, the way to the place is through Abraham Adesanya Estate and the stretch of over five kilometres is well tarred, but this terminates at the Ogombo roundabout.
To the dwellers in the community who are well over 6,000, the few months of the dry season are the best time of the year. Once it is rainy season, it gets worse, as the roads become nearly impassable.
A concerned resident, who is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Dr. Chris Onalo, said during the rainy season, everywhere is completely flooded.
“You can’t pass through Ogombo without folding up your trousers to your knees or using rain boots. You wade through the water until you get to where you park your car. To show you how terrible the situation is, even in this dry season, we are still using machine to drain water from the roads.
“The whole of this area is waterlogged and this problem is beyond what community efforts can solve. We need a proper drainage system to eject water to the lagoon, apart from inner-city roads that will link the communities and reduce congestion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway,” he said.
It is not all bad news in the area, as Onalo gives thumbs up to the security in Ogombo. “This place is very safe. You can keep your car anywhere and nothing would happen to it. Initially, when we came here, we were scared that typical of Lagos, they would vandalize your car or even steal it, but nothing of such has ever happened.
Just a few people who bought lands close to the roundabout have the luxury of driving into their homes, for the majority of residents, the roads are not motorable and the cars are always safe where it is parked.
“However, from time to time, there are pockets of incidents of petty stealing, but the security is marshaled by members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). We also have a police divisional post in the area.”
A community leader and the Supervisor for Works in the Eti-Osa East LCDA, Mr. Samad Oseni Ogunbo, told The Guardian that as a community, they have been championing for the construction of a senior secondary school for Ogombo.
“What we have now is a community school that terminates at Junior Secondary School Three (JSS3). They will then be transferred to Olomu, which is in Ajah and it is a huge risk, especially now that the Lekki-Epe road has been expanded.
“We record accidents daily on the road and school children are usually the victims. It was the same situation that led to the death of six pupils at Ikota recently. So, if our children can complete their secondary education here, it will reduce the influx of people going to the expressway.
“In addition, a lot of traditional activities take place in many of these communities, which involve ritual killings and the most vulnerable people used for such acts are school children. We don’t want them to be exposed to this ugly culture, that is why we are appealing to government to come to our rescue.”
Ogunbo explained that there are three existing roads that need critical attention – the Okun Ajah-Ogombo road, Ogombo-Okun Mokun road and the most important, Ogombo-Sangotedo road.
“There is no need for someone going to Epe, Eleko and environs to get to Ajah when you can link the Lekki-Epe expressway from Sangotedo. The same thing applies to those coming from Epe to this area, there is no need returning to Ajah and Abraham Adesanya before getting here.
“Once the road infrastructure is in place, there would be numerous development in this area and this would also benefit over 20 road settlement villages around us. On our part as a council, we have presented this to the state government and the reaction we get is some experts coming around to take pictures and measurement, but what we want is action.”