THREE years ago, life gave a different meaning to 13-year-old Esther Olanrewaju in the peaceful neighbourhood of Gafar Street located in the Igando-Ikotun LCDA of Lagos State where she lives with her grandma.
She enjoyed playing with her peers until a worrisome incident occurred; she lost her right arm to the gully on the bad road in her street.
Narrating her ordeal in tears to a correspondent of Punch, Olanrewaju said she lost her arm when she fell into the gully in the neglected community.
“It happened one Friday in March 2019. I was sleeping when my grandma called me from her shop outside. She asked me to get pure water for her from a shop not too far from ours. I collected the money with excitement and fled. It started to rain on my way back and I quickly ran towards our shop. While I was trying to avoid the rain and a large pit nearby, I stepped on a plank in front of our shop and I suddenly slipped and fell into the gully. I could not stand so people rushed out and carried me but the pure water weighed down my left hand."
It was gathered that the incident was considered to be minor until it landed the teenager in a hospital where the arm was eventually amputated.
Olanrewaju’s plight mirrors the hardships suffered by residents of Gafar Street, Igando-Ikotun LCDA of the state. These agonies are attributed to the deplorable road which has become a threat to the residents.
Gafar Street, which has over 300 houses with more than 500 residents, is a major area with neighbouring areas such as Abaranje and Ijegun in the Ikotun axis of the state. It also has 13 other streets and serves as a link road to about 12 other roads. But the havoc wreaked by the deplorable road in the street is a worry to many people. It’s a community characterised by peace and offers a potential booming environment for traders but is hampered by dilapidated roads.
As the situation persists, the rainy season, over the years, has not been a good time for the residents as the abandoned road is often flooded, taking over the entire road. Residents are usually afraid of going out whenever it rains. It was gathered that the condition of the road also made some people flee the area, while some landlords sold off their property and tenants failed to stay after the expiration of their tenancy.
Residents told Saturday PUNCH that floods had injured some and swept others away in the community.
The flood's adverse effects could also be seen on the road as ditches of various sizes and depths littered the community. A locally-made wooden bridge constructed through communal efforts by the dwellers had also felt the anger of floods which ravaged the area.
A septuagenarian and herb seller, Noimot Abdulsalam, is one of those who have suffered hardship in the area due to the poor condition of the road.
Abdulsalam noted, “A pregnant Togolese woman carrying a bucket of water on her head slipped and fell into the gully and died. There was a time two school children fell inside the gully when it was raining. One of them was found but the other one has not been seen to date. Another man who was going to work slipped into a gully and died. His corpse was later found in a gutter down the street.”
A pioneer Vice-Chairman of the then Alimosho Local Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Gafar, who the street was named after, said he used to maintain the road before he developed eye complications.
He said, “I am the owner of this street and I was once a vice chairman of the local government in 1991 when it was newly created. From the Gafar bus stop to the stream, there is a gully that can swallow a car. The road has been neglected by the government and nothing has been done about it."
For the full report, visit the website of Punch.