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‘Capsized canoe, collapsed bridge’ — residents lament as flood overwhelms Ogun road

‘Capsized canoe, collapsed bridge’ — residents lament as flood overwhelms Ogun road
September 12
16:05 2022

In September 2020, the Ogun government approved the construction of the Denro-Ishasi-Akute road in the state. Although the road was described as “long-abandoned” at the time of the project approval, for residents of the area, recent experiences plying the route, especially through the Oluwakemi area, have been “frustrating”.

BOAT ‘CAPSIZES’… PIGGYBACK RIDES SUSPENDED

In September 2021, TheCable had reported flooding in the area. On Monday, things took a “not-so-unusual” turn after a weekend of rainfall. The Oluwakemi bridge and surrounding areas were flooded. A vehicle was stuck. A wooden makeshift bridge “collapsed”. A canoe “capsized”. Piggyback rides were suspended. For Denro residents, while the recent experiences are not necessarily unusual, they expected more from the government before the current rainy season.

A car stuck in the flooded area

‘WE CAN’T CONTINUE LIKE THIS’

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Augusta Obimma, a resident of the area, said residents were told that the state government would provide a makeshift bridge, but nothing concrete is currently on ground.

“Between 8am and 9am today, they charged N200 per passenger for canoe trip — it used to be N100. Last week, the state government promised us a makeshift bridge but the bridge hasn’t yet been completed, and we’re left with no other option than to take the usual canoes,” she said.

“The queue this morning was massive and the canoes weren’t enough. At this time, people were also using the wooden bridge. I had to go home. When I returned at 11am, the fare had reduced to N100.

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“The bridge had also collapsed. I heard some persons were on the bridge when it collapsed and that one person died. On the boat, there are people who are so scared and their shaking causes the boat to turn over.

Before the wooden makeshift bridge ‘collapsed’

“This is my fourth year living in Denro and the experience has been like this every year. The promise and fail every year is becoming annoying. They have been constructing bridge for more than one year now. A woman — the wife of a hospital owner — died last year. This cannot continue. We are calling on the government to live up to its responsibility.”

Passengers preparing to travel by canoe

‘CROSSING WITH CANOE IS A MIRACLE’

On his part, Charles Ibuola described the experiences of residents as “disastrous”.

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“Crossing with canoe this morning was miraculous. Those in charge said the water current was heavier and as such, they couldn’t carry as many passengers as they would prefer. Aside from canoe, there is also piggyback crossing and both cost N200 per trip when I was there this morning,” he said.

“Boarding the canoe isn’t safe; neither is the piggyback ride. Phobia can make one fall off the canoe like the accident that happened this morning while I was on a canoe crossing to the other side of the road. Another canoe conveying four passengers capsized.

“Government has once again failed us living within Denro, because the result of the delay on the construction has been disastrous. Even the wooden bridge constructed on the water was half-done. I heard around noon, the bridge collapsed.

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“I am not satisfied with this government because they’re all the same. It’s been almost a decade that this dam opening has been affecting us living in this axis and government has not done the needful.”

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Another resident, who didn’t give her name, spoke on her experience.

“We don’t have much of a choice at this point. It has become the sad but usual thing during times like this. However, if I want to board, I ensure that the paddler is someone mature. That way, there is no fear of the canoe capsizing,” she told TheCable.

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Another resident, identified as Bidemi, who approached the pick-up spot, refused to get into the canoe. As the paddlers tried to convince her, she thought for a while, but turned back afterwards.

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“I have a phobia for water. Besides, the canoes look so unstable. The canoe crossing provides an easier route for me to get to Berger, but I’d rather not,” she said.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach Ade Akinsanya, Ogun commissioner for works, were not successful as calls to his line did not go through, and he was yet to respond to message at the time of this report.

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