Approaching Oko Aina community in Ijon area of Ayobo-Ipaja local council development area through Camp David Road or Ashipa-Amule-Olayemi Road, the only access routes, can only be described as tedious.
The unpaved road is permanently bumpy and flooded in most parts, with effluent fighting for control of the vehicle’s wheel with the driver.
Consequently, a journey that should last five minutes takes the better part of 45.
But that is not the only challenge facing the community, one of the many that make up ancient Igbo Ilogbo.
Electricity supply is also a major challenge and residents have struggled to come to terms with having power supply for barely one hour every other day.
However, Our Community Newspaper gathered that, as pressing as those needs are, they pale into insignificance when compared to lack of a proper drainage channel within the community.
Our Community Newspaper further learnt that the flow of water out of the community has been impeded by construction of edifices along a proposed drainage channel in the community.
The Chairman, Ifeoluwa K’Itan Community Development Association (CDA) in the area, Mr. Aminu Yerima, told our reporter that the blocked drainage path connects the community to the canal that links Ayobo to Igando.
It was learnt that the blockage of the proposed drainage channel has led to severe cases of flooding in the area during the rainy season, which paralyses socio-economic activities and hinders human and vehicular movement in the community.
One of the offending edifices is the fence of Emi N’Olorun Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Worldwide located in the community.
Angered by the incessant flooding and attendant destruction of properties in the area, some aggrieved community members had appealed to the Ayobo-Ipaja local government for assistance to clear the offending edifices.
After a stakeholders meeting held at the Council Secretariat, Igbogila to convince the Parish Priest of the church, Pastor Victor Ayoo, to pull down the fence failed the previous week, a team led by the Chairman, Ayobo-Ipaja Community Development Committee (CDC), Comrade Abiodun Coker, visited the community on Monday, February 12, to further convince the cleric to pull down the fence.
Members of the team included the Council Engineer, Engr. Anjorin, and the Ayobo Segment Coordinator of the CDC, Elder Abraham Oladele.
Addressing the cleric, the CDC Chairman said, “The community is saying that this is a gorge (pointing to a fence) and you blocked it.
“You can see the direction it (the drainage channel) is coming from and we have traced it from Promise Land down here. I am happy that we passed through it to get here and you can also see that if you do not leave space for the flow of water, your fence won’t be safe. That space is the natural waterway.
“That is why we have all come. Please, leave this space (pointing) for the natural flow of water.”
The council engineer equally appealed to the cleric to leave the disputed space for natural water flow, saying the community people were planning to embark on a drainage construction project along the space.
He said, “We would not like to involve the State Ministry of Environment because if the ministry is involved, they will go beyond anyone’s expectation.”
He added, “The government frowns at blocking of the natural path of water and that is what the Lagos state government is fighting for.”
Anjorin disclosed that a property belonging to the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and three-time Commissioner in Lagos, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), was demolished for blocking natural water flow.
The council engineer proceeded to issue a contravention notice to the church and three other properties for blocking the natural water flow and proposed drainage channel, noting that the notice must be responded to in 24 hours.
Responding, Ayoo said he was a man under authority and pleaded for more time to consult his superiors before replying to the notice.
However, he said that he had been in the community long before many of the community members accusing him of blocking the natural flow of water.
The cleric, a building contractor, claimed that his investigations showed him he was not at fault, stressing that the water never flowed by the church premises until it was diverted there by the activities of sand dredgers.
He added, “Before I began to lay claims to this space, I have done my investigations up to the level of ministry (of the environment)”.
He further accused the community people of trying to cheat him out of the disputed space.
“A plot of land is 120 feet but I left 16 feet space in case of future road construction.
“Tracing of water is supposed to follow gutters street by street. We are surrounded by the canal in Ayobo-Ipaja and the natural path of water is clear for all to see.
“I told them that from the beginning, water never passed here…
“It was when some roads were blocked by some people dredging sand along the powerline that the water began to find its way to this place,” stated.
Reacting, the council engineer said that he had traced the natural water from the powerline.
“Some (of the other affected) people erected a drainage within their property for the water to flow through and slabbed it. If you do something like that, no one is claiming your land,” he said.
Speaking to Our Community Newspaper on the telephone on Tuesday, February 27, the CDA Chairman, Yerima said that the cleric had mounted more block barricades to further obstruct the flow of water.
Asked if the cleric had pulled down the fence blocking the water flow as requested by the council engineer, Yerima said, “No, rather he (Ayoo) has put up more blocks and the water is not flowing through; it is now spilling over to places we didn’t want it to get to.”
He lamented that no team from the council had come back to inspect the area since the council engineer’s visit two weeks before, while the community continued to grapple with the flooding without respite.