The Desperate Canal Dwellers In Lagos


The extent to which some Lagosians can go to find shelter for themselves can be amazing and equally dangerous to a large extent. The high cost of living and the difficulty in getting accommodation due to the unrelenting desire of landlords to milk their tenants and prospective ones dry, have driven desperate Lagosians to rent any affordable homes, no matter the location, or to buy a cheap land and build on it even at the risk of their lives.

This worrisome trend seems to be the order of the day as desperate landlords are building houses on canals, gullies and drainage channels across the state in flagrant violation of the state’s physical planning laws.

Apart from a trip around parts of the state reveals the danger to which the majority of low income earners are exposing themselves to in the face of the acute accommodation problems they are facing.

The gully on Sholanke Street, off Isale Aro in Ifako-Ijaye, another gully at Orimolade, off College road, the gully close to County Hospital, off Ijaiye Road, are some of the unusual places Lagosians have bought cheap lands and built houses. It is amazing that the Sunday, 10 July, 2011 deluge did not sweep away those poorly built houses seemingly built on quick sand. Perhaps the occupants of such homes perching precariously on the edge of the precipice may not be twice lucky if it rained the way it did on 10 July this year.

As the state government has repeated stated, it has to save those people who reside in those houses from themselves before flood sweeps them away.

We wonder whether officials of the Physical Planning Ministry live on another planet that they do not see all these illegal buildings and constructions going on across the state.

The government needs to take urgent action to safeguard the poorest of the poor who live in these dangerous canals and gullies before a monumental tragedy occurs in the state.

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