Totowu residents in Ogun state have cried out over total darkness, insecurity in the area
It was gathered that the community has been in total darkness since 2014
A resident of the area, Afisi Eniafe, said armed robbers take advantage of darkness in the community to unleash terror on the residents
After years of living in darkness and insecurity, residents of Odan, Totowu village in Ado-Odo/Ota local government in Ogun state, have urged the incoming administration of governor of the state, Dapo Abiodun, to put an end to their plights.
A regional reporter, Subair Mohammed, reports that the residents of the community were faced with challenges of bad roads, lack of potable water, lack of electricity and link bridge to connect the riverine community to outer Lagos state where many of them work and earn their living. It was gathered that Odan community has been in total darkness for over five years and that the community lacks good road network, especially a bridge which if constructed would ease free flow of human and material from the community to Lagos state.
The residents expressed fear over an impending disaster that could happen as a result of their dependency on boats as their only means of transportation which could capsize anytime.
Speaking with newsmen, a resident in five caterpillar area of the community, Afisi Eniafe, said he has been living in Totowu community for almost a decade, adding that armed robbers take advantage of darkness to unleash terror on the residents.
He said: “Totowu community is far from being safe for residents. We live in fear everyday that we may be attacked by robbers. I could recall sometime ago, I was heading home from Lagos Island where I work when I got a call from my wife that there was armed robbery attack on the waterway as passengers on board the canoe were robbed.
”Imagine a situation where you were on a canoe without electricity and the only means of light is your phone torchlight. We were terrified in that community. ”We have been neglected by past administrations in Ogun state and that is why I am appealing to the incoming administration of Dapo Abiodun to focus on developing Totowu because we have more people living in that region and we are contributing to the growth of the state too.
”I want to call on the Ogun state government to establish police stations and electricity in Totowu community because, in a community where electricity and adequate security are absent, various atrocities are bound to happen.”
Similarly, another resident, Tayo Abolaji, a petty trader in Odan said her business is thriving as she enjoys huge patronage from both the residents and school children.
She, however, said that her only challenge is that she had to travel down to Ikotun on canoe to buy ice blocks, adding that the residents usually feel unsafe whenever their journey through canoes on the waterways.
She added: “Talking about population, Totuwu community is highly populated. This is positively impacting our sales and profit. But I must say that as we are making the profit, rather than spend it on our homes, it goes on canoe and ice block because of lack of electricity supply in the community.
”Also our hearts are in our mouth when crossing the waterway with canoe. I don’t know if you observe that many of the canoes are in bad shape and without life jackets for passengers.
”The operators are more concerned about their profit instead of the safety of the people. Many traders in Igando/Ikotun and its environs live in Totowu and on a daily basis, they have to cross the water with their wares in the canoe.
”Imagine the loss if the canoe capsizes or engulfs in fire. I don’t want the government to wait for the canoe to capsize before they construct a bridge for us in Totowu.
”Since many of us shuttle between Alimosho in Lagos and Totowu which is under Ogun state, I think what is required between governments of the two states is a combined action. It is expected of them to pull resources together to construct bridge for the benefits of residents in the two states.
”Doing this among other things will enhance movement and trading activities between the residents of the two states.
Also, the provision of adequate security is essential because Totowu community is smugglers’ route.
”Although their activities on the route is decreasing but we still see some of them around with bale of used clothes and other banned products transporting their wares to Lagos through the canoe. We want security presence, good roads and stable electricity like every other human community.”
While residents laments insecurity and other challenges, it is business as usual for the boatmen who operate between 5am till midnight ferrying passengers in and out of Totuwu community. Ajose Jamiu is one of the boat operators in the community.
He was a trained plumber but had to change his line of business, seeing how lucrative boat business is in the axis.