‘Danger ahead, keep off dried up Ogun River’
Lagos govt warns as curious observers besiege river to take ‘selfies’
Since Saturday when residents awoke to the sudden disappearance of the river flowing under the Kara Bridge around Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State, it has become a tourist destination, by what many has described as miracle of the year.
The water body that once served as means of transportation for canoe owners had dried up at one end of the bridge, while water still flow freely on the other side. The dried section of the river, which once provided water for the Kara cattle and ram market, has become a firm ground, with residents walking freely on it.
Yesterday, over 48 hours after the shock discovery, motorists and curious observers besieged the Kara section of the Ogun River to take pictures of the strange phenomenon.
The river was last weekend taken over by vegetation caused by a heavy storm, which created a compacted layer over the river; but residents and onlookers were of the erroneous belief that the river’s sudden condition was a divine act, thereby turning the bridge and its environs into a tourist site.
The resultant effect was an intractable traffic on the road yesterday, noted for its traffic snarl, which are often caused by several failed portions on the expressway. But the sudden disappearance of Ogun River at Kara yesterday placed traffic towards Lagos at its worse, which stretched as far as Mowe in Ogun State.
Since the incidence occurred at the weekend, residents have not stopped talking about their shock discovery of the body of water that once served as means of transportation for canoe owners.
A resident, who simply gave his name as Muyiwa, said the disappearance of the river is an indication that the river is angry because of too much desecration going on in the area.
According to him, apart from tonnes of effluents released daily from the abattoir, several human defecation around the place end up in the river. “May be this is another way the river is reacting to all these abuse over the years,” he said.
A ram seller, Mallam Sule, who witnessed the incident on Saturday, said it is still a mystery for many of them as there is still some water on the other side of the river.
Environmentalists have, however, warned residents to keep off the blocked channel over risks of it opening up unexpectedly. They also advised relevant authorities to find a means of clearing the unidentified green plants seen on the ground.
In a related development, the Lagos State government yesterday frowned at the act of parking on the bridge to take pictures, saying it is causing serious traffic, hardship and loss of man-hours to commuters.
The state government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Adebowale Akinsanya, an engineer, said it is important for the public to be aware that the vegetation can give way at anytime and can lead to a potential disastrous situation.
The statement reads: “A lot of people that have turned the place to a tourist destination are unaware of the danger lying ahead. Residents and onlookers are of the erroneous belief that the river has suddenly dried up and can walk across the vegetation. Due to the compacted nature of the vegetation, the flow of the river is still active beneath the vegetation and the situation has been evaluated.
“It is important to notify the public about the environmental consequence of a dried up river. It is dangerous for residents to besiege the dry area as the flow of the river is still active beneath,” it added.