50-years neglect: Lagos community suffers under bad road

Amid nationwide calls for infrastructural development, a once flourishing community, Ogunniyi of Lagos State now languishes in despair. While some residents and property owners have abandoned their belongings and dispersed the community, others endure unimaginable hardship due to poor road conditions and frequent flooding, Chibuzor Alli writes.

Residents of Ogunniyi, a community in the Badagry axis in the Ajeromi- Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State, are lamenting the poor state of the road linking the area to the Lagos-Badagry expressway.



Our correspondent, who visited the area on Friday, noticed that the poorly constructed road had pools of foul-smelling water accumulated in different parts, posing serious health risks to the residents of the community.

The trip from Oshodi to Ogunniyi presented a varied experience. The expressway, used by our correspondent for the initial leg of the journey, was in good shape.

The properly kept expressway enabled smooth travel, ensuring he reached his destination promptly.
Upon entering Ogunniyi, however, he encountered a striking difference. The road, crucial for the community’s connectivity, was in dire condition.

It was gathered that the 2-kilometer road has been abandoned by the Lagos State Government for over 50 years.

Many vehicle owners have stopped plying the road while those that do, struggle to navigate the numerous potholes on the road.

Also, the stench from stagnant water makes life unbearable for both residents and road users.

The once-thriving street is now a nightmare, with potholes and craters that seem to multiply by the minute.

The constant rains have made matters worse, turning the road into a flooded mess. The properties of many are also left in shambles during the rainy season.  

As this correspondent made his way through the streets, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of frustration and empathy for the residents of Ogunniyi, a once-thriving community now plagued by poor road infrastructure and flooding.

Many residents have lost their livelihoods due to the frequent flooding, which has destroyed their homes and businesses.

Speaking with separate interviews with NATIONAL TELESCOPE, some of the residents lamented, saying they had been abandoned by the state government. 

It was disclosed that the situation worsened after developers acquired properties within where the drainages were channeled.

A resident and former roadside trader in the area, identified simply as Titilope has become jobless after losing some have her goods to flooding.

According to her, she no longer has anything to sell and could not afford to purchase any goods for sale for fear of flood reoccurrence.

She said, “I used to sell foodstuff on the roadside, but now I am forced to stay at home because I don’t want to lose my goods again.”

Another resident, Mr Ismaila Yusuf said, “This has become a long-time problem. I have been in this area for the past eight years. It is as if this area is not part of Lagos State because we cannot feel the presence of government.

He added, “My brother, you have not seen anything, at least you can still pass through now. You need to come when it’s raining, you will feel sorry for us living here.”

When asked why he didn’t relocate to a better area in the state, he said, “Where do you expect me to go? All we can do is appeal to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu not to abandon us. It has taken too long and we are all suffering. They shouldn’t wait until people begin to die on this road before they come and attend to it.”

On his part, 56-year-old house owner, Isiaka Abayomi told our correspondent that the road has been in a deplorable state since he was a child.

According to him, while other roads were been considered and constructed theirs have been abandoned despite the worsened state.

He also said that many residents have abandoned their homes and properties to move to more developed areas in the state while others have stayed behind because they lack the financial means to relocate.

He said, “The government has been working on the streets near us, but we don’t understand why we are left to suffer like this. They have constructed Alaji Gbaja, Ifelodu, Owoduni, and others that were in better condition than ours before construction. Yet, Oguniyi Street has been neglected for decades.

“I have lived here since I was a child, and now at almost 56 years old, the road is still in terrible condition. My father lived and died here, and despite promises, the road was never fixed. We endure this suffering daily.

“We vote in large numbers here, but they don’t take care of us. During the rainy season, it’s like we are living in a river. No matter how high you fold your trousers, the water still reaches you. My wife sells at our gate, and I am the one who comes out in the rain to clear the water when it’s unbearable.

“If I don’t clear the gutter, the situation remains dire for days, making it feel like we need canoes to leave our houses. We are forgotten. Many have sold their inherited properties and left, but those of us without money remain in the homes our fathers left us.

“We have nowhere else to go, which is why we have stayed here so long. Lagos State government, please help us. The suffering here is immense,” he pleaded.

Another house owner, Aweda Ganiu, pleaded with the state government to intervene and bring an end to their suffering.

He said, “We don’t have drainage on the road, so when it rains, the water overflows. We are pleading with the government to help us with this situation that is unbearable and inhumane.”

The General Secretary of Alafia Community Development Association, Ugochukwu Onala, who also owns a house in the area, revealed that the stagnant polluted water in the community is causing illness among both adults and children.

“The area was in good condition until all the houses around were sold, including the canal. The canal got blocked, and water started spreading everywhere. Buildings were abandoned because of the blockage. I had to demolish my house, fill it to escape the water a bit, and then rebuild it. Those who couldn’t do that were forced to sell their homes.

“No development has come to the area despite voting for the APC, they abandoned us. Since 1972, I have been living there, there has been no government presence. They only come to collect money at the Mable market.

“They did Alhaji Rahimi, Owoduni, Pamu, and others, but instead of doing ours, Oguniyi, they took it to a state road. We have been abandoned and let down repeatedly, even after being promised development for our votes.

“The water on the road, after just each rain, caused ailments on our legs, leading to swelling and wounds due to the polluted water we have to wade through.”

The Chairman of Ogunniyi Community, Mr Ganiu Owoyemi, also lamented the unbearable situation residents face in the area.

He stated that while the road was listed for construction alongside others in the past, it has been left out.
“When they (Government) came about two years ago, we thought we would finally benefit from the road project since our road was listed for repair.

“We were told it was a World Bank project, and they came to survey the land. They’ve been telling us for years that they would come back, but despite our road being in their files, nothing has been done.

“You can see how we live, with water everywhere. Some people came around two months ago to take another survey, and still, nothing has happened.

“We are pleading with the government to consider our families and properties because those of us who live here have nowhere else to go.”

Speaking in an interview with NATIONAL TELESCOPE, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, stated that recent reviews have been conducted on road projects, and new projects are currently under construction across the state.

He emphasised the state government’s commitment to infrastructure development.

“Lagos is a rapidly growing city, the fifth largest in the world, and expanding every day. Construction is a necessity as communities continue to spring up and expand. The government is dedicated to doing more.

“Recently, at a press conference held by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, we outlined our achievements from last year, which are visible for all to see. These include new hospitals, markets, roads, and bridges, including a link bridge at Ojota. Numerous projects are ongoing, and you can find detailed updates online.”

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