Kwara Community Suffers as Bad Road Claims Lives, Properties

The residents of Ero Omo Community in the Offa Garage area of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, are living in constant fear due to recurring erosion that claimed the life of a seven-year-old boy. The deteriorating road conditions have turned this once peaceful community into a hazardous zone, leaving families in distress. Oyedunmola Olakunle writes

Sixty-five-year-old Alhaji Isiaka Raheem tragically lost his seven-year-old nephew to erosion during a heavy downpour caused by poor roads and drainage in the Ero Omo Community, Offa Garage area of Ilorin, Kwara State capital.

The incident also led to the death of his sister, Mrs. Halimah Adepoju, who suffered a fatal shock-induced hypertension after losing her child.

NATIONAL TELESCOPE gathered that Adepoju, a resident of Ede in Osun State, was visiting the community for a naming ceremony when the tragedy struck.

Isiaka recounted to our correspondent that she was with the child trying to cross a dilapidated road after the downpour when the erosion swept the boy away.

Despite frantic rescue efforts by passersby, they were unable to save him.

“She came from Ede for our younger sister’s naming ceremony, but the rain started before she could reach the community,” Isiaka lamented.

“She was trying to cross the road to our sister’s street when the erosion took the boy away. People around tried to rescue him, but they couldn’t, and he died in the erosion. The shock of it led to my sister’s hypertension and subsequent death.”

Though this incident occurred eight years ago, the road remains unconstructed, and erosion continues to claim lives and properties in the area.

According to Isiaka, many residents have sold their properties and fled the community due to the deplorable state of the roads and recurring erosion.

He highlighted the dire situation, saying, “Properties and household items are lost to erosion during downpours, making life unbearable for residents.

“Some people have left the community, sold their properties, and some even abandoned their homes because of the bad road, loss of lives, and loss of properties. We are appealing to the government to come to our aid.”

This is just one of many incidents that have plagued the Ero Omo Community in the Kwara State capital, where residents’ lives are constantly under threat. The road has reportedly been neglected by the Kwara State Government for more than a decade.

During our correspondent’s visit to the community, it was evident that the road was in a deplorable state. Navigating it was challenging, and crossing the erosion-dredged gutters was life-threatening.

Both adults and children on their way to work and school struggled to find a safe path through the dilapidated road. Motorists, including tricycle and motorcycle drivers, have abandoned the road due to its impassable condition and significant risks.

The ongoing heavy downpours have worsened the situation, turning the road into a flood hazard.

Residents lament

Speaking with our correspondent, several residents shared their ordeal and appealed to the state government for quick intervention.

A resident, Mr. Oladele Owolabi, described the road as a threat to the lives of those living in the area.

According to him, he often stays at work whenever it rains to avoid the erosion and potential crises that come with it.

“This has been a long-standing issue. I’ve lived here for the past five years, and it feels like this area isn’t even part of Kwara State. If it’s raining, I have to stay at work until the rain stops because it’s too dangerous to navigate the bad roads.”

Eighty-one-year-old Elder Ogunniyi Samuel, who has lived in the community for 15 years and owns a house there, highlighted the ongoing problem.

Samuel who is also the community’s treasurer, urged the state government to intervene.

“This road has been a major issue for everyone in the community and has destroyed numerous properties. We plead with the government to address this matter for the benefit of all residents.”

Another resident, Mrs Victoria, recounted the devastating impact of the erosion, including the loss of lives and properties.

She lamented that despite sending multiple letters to the state government and receiving numerous promises from politicians during campaigns, the road remains neglected.

“The erosion has claimed lives and properties here. The road has been in this state for years, even before this administration. Despite our many letters and the politicians’ promises, nothing has been done.”

Mrs Oluwaseyi Olaoye, another homeowner, shared similar concerns. “The erosion has damaged our community. It has brought down the fence of our apartment and now floods our compound. It has destroyed cars and houses. We urgently need the state government’s help.”

Hon Yinusa Ogele, a homeowner and former Counselor for Asa Local Government, acknowledged the government’s efforts across the state but emphasised the urgent need to address the road issue.

“The road leading to this community has deteriorated to the point that no car, tricycle, or even motorcycle can pass through it.

It has become a risk for people traveling at night.

Residents with vehicles have to park elsewhere and walk home. It’s nearly impossible for property owners to develop their land because there’s no way to get through.

“Some years ago, heavy rain caused significant damage, claiming lives and properties. The most heartbreaking incident was when a child lost his life to the erosion. We’ve written to the government multiple times, even when Dr Bukola Saraki was in the Senate, and he promised to look into it.

“The project was supposed to be handled by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, but only one side of the drainage was completed, which worsened the situation. Heavy rain washed it away three days later.”

He further explained that multiple letters had been sent to the government, with assurances that the road would be repaired.

He appealed for urgent assistance as the community continues to suffer losses, noting the road’s importance as a connection to key areas in the state.

Alhaji Suleiman Oladunjoye Sabitu, Secretary of the Upper Sanmora Community Development Association, also called for government intervention.

“We appreciate the government’s efforts in the state, especially regarding roads and education. However, we need them to address our community’s issues.

“We have sent several letters, and although nothing has been done, we believe they haven’t reached the right channels. We have just sent another letter to the Governor dated May 27, 2024, attaching previous correspondence.

“The Governor has been doing his best in other areas, but we ask that he also remember our community. We pray for his success in addressing this pressing issue.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Kwara State Commissioner for Communication, Hon. Bolanle Olukoju, on the matter proved abortive as she promised to get back to our correspondent when contacted on May 29, & 30, 2024 but has not responded at the time of filing this report on June 4.

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