…Our Schools, Economy Crippled, Residents
… All-Season Bridge Vital For Flood-Prone Road, Communities Tell Abiodun
In the quiet and resilient community of Owode-Ketu, nestled within the serene landscapes of Yewa-North local government area in Ogun State, the people have borne a heavy burden for over three decades.
A tale of struggle, courage, and determination unfolds as 25 communities along the Tata (Abotokio)-Owode Ketu-Sunwa-Ayetoro Road grapple with the devastating consequences of a collapsing bridge and the relentless wrath of nature.
For not less than 30 years, Owode-Ketu and its neighbouring communities have endured the recurring nightmare of bridges that have stood for generations collapsing beneath them.
These bridges were their lifelines, connecting them to the outside world and enabling vital trade and communication. Yet, time and torrential rains have eroded the foundations, leaving these communities stranded.
To compound their woes, the ever-swelling waters of the Yewa River have overrun the bridges, swallowing their lifelines and submerging the vital connections that once united them.
Every year, like clockwork, the rains would arrive, and the residents of Owode-Ketu, numbering around 20,000 souls, would be held captive by the waters for three to four long months.
In the face of hunger, they were forced to retreat to the safety of their homes, unable to access the outside world. Those who dared to brave the treacherous waters did so at great risk to their lives, as the river often reached a formidable six feet in depth.
Owode-Ketu, an agricultural gem, produces an abundance of maize, palm oil, yam flour, garri, and bananas, making it a cynosure of eyes for traders seeking bountiful harvests at affordable prices. But this once-thriving hub has been eclipsed by the annual deluge that turns its streets into a ghost town.
Two months ago, a pregnant woman, in dire need of medical care, had to deliver her child on the crumbling remains of a bridge. It was a stark reminder of the life-threatening conditions the community faces each day.
In a heart-stopping and inspiring turn of events, the pregnant woman found herself delivering a baby boy on the bridge that had crumbled under the relentless might of the River Yewa.
This astonishing occurrence, captured in a three-minute and nineteen-second video clip, has left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who witnessed it.
The bridges had succumbed to the unforgiving wrath of the Yewa River.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that as the bridge, which once served 12 communities, lay in ruins, it became an unexpected birthing suite for this brave mother.
…. How Miracle Birth On Collapsed Bridge Highlights Urgent Need For Infrastructure Improvements
The pregnant woman, Tosin Olanrewaju, found herself delivering a baby on a collapsed bridge due to severe flooding.
This heartwarming yet harrowing tale emphasizes the desperate need for improved infrastructure in the region to combat recurring floods.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that Tosin, pregnant and in need of immediate medical attention, was registered at the Owode hospital.
However, nature had its own plan, with torrential rains already wreaking havoc on the region. By the time the couple embarked on their journey, the road leading to the hospital had been submerged, making it impassable.
Adekunle, the husband, determined to ensure the safety of his wife and the coming child, embarked on a perilous journey from their neighboring community, Apotokio, with Tosin clinging to the back of a motorcycle. Their journey came to a halt when they reached a collapsed bridge en route to the hospital.
Faced with an impassable obstacle, they were met with a glimmer of hope in the form of villagers from the community. These villagers, accustomed to ferrying produce like vegetables, cassava, and machinery for a fee, came to their aid.
As the waters raged beneath the bridge, Tosin gave birth, her cries and the sounds of the raging river blending in a surreal symphony.
The villagers surrounding them acted as an impromptu support team, shielding the newborn from the elements, and ensuring the safety and well-being of both mother and child.
Adekunle, overwhelmed by the events that unfolded on the collapsed bridge, shared his emotions, saying, “I didn’t know where I was between Heaven and earth. I didn’t understand; I was so surprised that such an incident happened.”
Their miraculous escape from disaster attested to the remarkable strength and compassion of the community.
Both mother and child were miraculously unharmed and in good health, thanks to the swift response and unity of the villagers. However, their extraordinary story serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for infrastructure improvements in the region.
Adekunle pleads with the government and authorities, stating, “I want to plead with our government to please help us with this road. We suffer from this flood issue every year. It is one of the reasons why our youth have no income because most of us are farmers, and when the flood comes, there is no source of income.”
… Severe Flooding Devastates Village
In a harrowing video message that has gone viral, a distressed female trader and resident of Owode-Ketu village, lamented the continuous havoc caused by two months of relentless flooding.
The trader said for the past two months, the village has been besieged by flooding, leaving its residents stranded and cut off from essential resources.
The distraught resident in the video stated, “Once it occurs, we were stranded, we cannot go anywhere. We cannot go to Ayetoro; we cannot get to Ijoun. We were stuck between the flooding; please help us.”
The female trader who was seeing walking through in the water, further lamented that the flooding has wreaked havoc on the local economy, severely affecting the ability of residents to earn a livelihood.
According to her, children in the village have been unable to attend school, and we, mothers are finding it impossible to carry out our trade, leaving many in the community hungry and struggling.
“Before this unfortunate incident, the village relied on trading their farm produce in nearby markets, including Ijoun.”
She added that they would transport various agricultural products such as Garri, Yam Flour, Banana, Palm Oil, and maize.
“All of these products were locally sourced and cultivated on their farms. However, the flooding has devastated the farmlands, causing a significant loss of their produce.
The devastating impact has left the community in dire financial straits, with many residents unable to afford basic necessities. They are now appealing to the government for assistance to help them recover from this catastrophe.
The situation has also affected the livelihoods of those who relied on the Yewa River bridge for transportation.
The river frequently overruns the bridge, making it extremely challenging to travel from Owode-Ketu to Abotokio.
Many residents had to pay exorbitant fees to transport their bikes and cars out of the flooded area.
One resident, who is a bike rider, shared his experience, stating, “I am a bike man; they charged me N5,000, but I begged and paid N2,000 to those who helped me carry it from the bridge to the other side.”
… “Save Our Souls” Letters Delivered To Abiodun and Senator Yayi
In a desperate bid to seek help, residents of a distressed community in the State have sent “Save Our Souls” letters to Governor Abiodun and Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, who represents the Ogun West Senatorial district.
The heartfelt plea is centered around the pressing need for a new bridge over the Yewa River.
The Baale of the community, Sanya Fagbuyi, penned a letter titled “RE: Request For Construction Of Bridge Over River Yewa,” drawing the attention of Abiodun and Senator Adeola to the dire situation facing over 25 communities along the Tata (Abotokio)-Owode Ketu-Sunwa-Ayetoro Road.
According to the letter, the people in this area have been cut off from the rest of the world due to the frequent overflow of the Yewa River, which often submerges the two bridges constructed in 1984/85 by the Yewa North Local Government. These aging bridges have proven grossly inadequate to meet the community’s needs.
The letters, copies, obtained by PLATFORM TIMES reveal the extent of suffering endured by the community.
The letter stated “for upwards of four months now, the socio-economic activities of the communities that the road serves have been paralyzed.
“This has impacted students who cannot return to schools for the 2023/2024 Academic Calendar, children and women who are denied access to essential healthcare services, and the elderly who lack access to basic necessities, including food.”
It highlights a particularly distressing incident of a middle-aged pregnant woman giving birth on the bridge as she went into labor while struggling to cross the river’s overflow in August this year.
The attached pictures vividly depict the challenges commuters face while navigating the overflows, trying to reach the neighboring Ijoun Market.
The letter read further that this isn’t an isolated incident; it’s an annual ordeal for the community. The road was initially approved for construction in 1981 by the late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, the first Civilian Governor of the State.
“Unfortunately, before the Olabisi Onabanjo Administration could make progress, the Second Republic was terminated by the military in 1983.
“Since then, representations to successive administrations have yielded no results. Given the road’s crucial role in the socio-economic well-being of the communities along its corridor, there is an impassioned plea for Governor Abiodun’s intervention.”
The community is fervently appealing for the immediate construction of a sturdy, high, and long bridge capable of withstanding the river’s high volume of floodwaters.
…Urgent Plea: Over 80-Year-Old Baale Seeks Help
An 80-year-old Baale of the community, Reverend Sanya Fagbuyi, said “for over 80 years, we ‘ve endured the agony of having no proper road, resorting to a plank bridge built by community groups back in 1984.
He said ” the road, once merely a vital business artery, now stands as a lifeline to hope, thanks to the past and present Governors who’ve heard our cries. But that’s just the beginning of their challenges.”
He added that the absence of a market in the community, solely because of the treacherous road, has left them isolated and struggling to sustain their livelihoods.
He lamented that the Ketu market, once a thriving hub, is now but a distant memory, and the radio waves no longer echo its presence.
He said “the plea extends to essential services such as education and healthcare.
” In the public health center, we find some solace, yet we yearn for more in terms of social amenities and upgraded healthcare facilities.
“The schools are in dire need of additional teachers, with primary schools relying on PTA-appointed educators.
According to him, despite the challenges, the community pays taxes dutifully, and with a heavy heart, we plead with the government to come to our aid.
He said that the road, more than just a local concern, plays a crucial role in the connectivity of the entire nation.
He added that travelers from various states pass through, risking their lives and bearing witness to the perilous conditions.
… All-Season Bridge Vital For Flood-Prone Road – Residents
In a heartfelt plea, the communities along the flood-prone road have come together, imploring the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun to fulfill his promise to construct a strong, high, and long bridge that will transform their lifeline into an all-season road.
The road, which has long been plagued by flooding during the rainy season, poses a severe challenge to the people living in the area, affecting their daily lives and access to vital resources.
The residents stressed the urgency of the situation, highlighting the immediate need for a bridge that can effectively withstand the surging floodwaters of the river.
The communities begged Abiodun to rescue them by making the road an all season road through construction of a strong ,high and long bridge .
They said “To make the road an all season road, there is therefore an immediate need for a bridge strong, high and long enough to restrain the high volume of the river’s flood waters from submerging it.
They vividly remember Abiodun’s commitment during his campaign tour, where he pledged to send engineers to assess the bridge’s precarious state.
They said that this promise raised their hopes, and they are now eagerly anticipating a lasting solution to a problem that has persisted for decades.
PLATFORM TIMES observed that the communities have faced numerous challenges due to the unreliable condition of the road, which often becomes impassable during heavy rains.
This not only disrupts their daily commutes but also hampers access to essential services such as healthcare and education.
It has had a detrimental impact on the local economy as well, making it difficult for farmers to transport their produce and hampering trade in the area.
The proposed strong, high, and long bridge is seen as the key to resolving these issues, ensuring that the road can be used year-round without fear of flooding.
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