Houses Waterlogged in Lagos’ Iberekodo Community Because a Resident Blocked Drainage Channel

Olorunjeda Salau, a resident of Iberekodo, a community in the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State, has blocked a water channel, causing some buildings to be waterlogged.

The affected buildings are situated on Surulere Street in the community. On the other side of the blocked water channel is the fence of Famous Gardens Estate.

About a month ago, Salau dumped a heap of sand behind his house on the street because, according to him, he wanted to prevent rainwater from stagnating in his backyard.

Hassan Taiwo, one of the affected house owners, explained to FIJ that about eight buildings were affected and efforts to get Salau remove the obstruction had been futile.

A waterlogged building with a line of blocks serving as a pathway into the house

“About four weeks ago, he [Salau] dumped the sand there. When we asked why he decided to block the water channel, he explained that the place belonged to him,” Taiwo said.

“When rain fell last week, the impediment prevented the rainwater from going to the swampy area. My building and seven other buildings are still surrounded by stagnant rainwater.”

Photos and videos provided by Taiwo showed how blackened rainwater around the buildings had refused to go away. Taiwo’s house had to line up blocks and planks to provide an elevation on which to access his house.

Entrance of Hassan’s house

“It’s been difficult to enter my house. I have been locking my children in the house so that they don’t go out without supervision and enter the water. I am afraid for my family because, you know, stagnant water breeds diseases,” Taiwo said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains that stagnant water provides a breeding ground for insects, including mosquitoes, that can transmit diseases.

FIJ understands that the environmental services department of the Ibeju-Lekki Local Government has issued two separate notices to Salau to remove the blockade. One of the notices, directing him to remove the blockade in three days, was dated May 30.

However, this has not been complied with. Speaking with FIJ over the phone on Saturday, the officer who delivered the notice told FIJ that Salau told him that he was not going to “cooperate” in remedying the situation.

“I went there to serve the notices. He received it and told me that he would not cooperate with his neighbours because the land belongs to him. Once the notices expire, we are going to take the necessary actions permitted by the law,” the officer, whose name is withheld because he had no authority to speak with the media, said.

A copy of the removal notice served on Salau

When reached for comment, Salau said that he dumped the sand there in his own interest. He also denied saying he would not cooperate with his neigbours in correcting the problem.

“They have created a way behind my house for the water to go away, but they failed to do so from their own side, too. I don’t understand why they are reporting me to different places. I would not have allowed them to create the channel if I actually said I would not cooperate with them. So, it is not true that I said that,” Salau said.

Salau provided a 4-minute video showing the portion of land he dumped the sand on. In the video, he explains that there was never a defined rainwater channel in the area.

Visibly, the affected buildings, including Salau’s, had traces of erosion water at their ground-level bases.

FIJ observed that the drainage channel Salau said had been created was tiny and did not enable the free flow of water and sand was still mostly on the drainage channel.

Source: Foundation for Investigative Journalism

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