But before the 1960s, when the population density of the city was still low, the residents could get away with dumping refuse indiscriminately into the stream without consequences.
The first major backlash
that alerted residents and the authorities to the dangers of dumping refuse into the city's major drainage channel came in 1960 when a flood disaster that occurred after the stream overflowed its banks, rendered 1,000 people homeless.Then in 1963, as the population of the city increased, the stream overflowed its bank once again, and flooded the city, damaging hundreds of homes.
In 1978, official records confirmed 32 dead and 100 houses destroyed after a rainy season surge that led to yet another incident of overflowing of the stream. But it took a major disaster in 1980, that attracted international media attention, to bring the local authorities to a firm decision to do something about the situation.
The historic Ogunpa flood disaster in 1980 happened after 10 hours of heavy downpour. The Ogunpa stream swelled and burst it banks, flooding large sections of the city, causing more than a 100 deaths, destruction of hundreds of homes and valuable property
In 1999, the Federal Government came to the assistance of the underfunded state government that initiated the Ogunpa Channelization Project, by awarding a 10 billion Naira contract for a channelization project that was scheduled for completion in February 2003. However, the project was left uncompleted after some of the contractors abandoned it.
On August 26, 2011, another flood disaster hit the city. While the overflowing of the Eleyele Dam
contributed to the intensity of the 2011 flood, authorities continued to insist, in spite of the unfinished channelization project, that the people's habit of clogging the waterways with refuse was responsible for the disasters. And while the government blames the people for dumping refuse in the city's drainage, very little is being said about the fact that the city does not have an effective public waste disposal system
The state Ministry of Environment and Water Resources decided to appoint environmental officers, who guarded the channel to prevent dumping of refuse that begins with intensity once darkness falls. According to a statement by the ministry
: “The indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the Ogunpa channel is done after 6.00pm when people are not supervising... we need to operate 24 hours. But there must be adequate security for men who will do the night job."
However, after recurrence of flooding in 2012, efforts have been made to complete the channelization work. The major site of the work is currently at Tewogbade bridge, Bodija, where lives were lost in recent floodings.
reporter traced the flow of the river from Ashi/Bodija across the city to assess the state of completion of the Ogunpa channel and reports that reconstruction and dredging of the stream bed is going on at the Tewogbade Bridge in Bodija. There are several points along the stream, especially between Bodija and Parliament road, where channelization work remains to be done. This explains why the Bodija area has witnessed major floodings in recent times.
The reader should note that it is the dry season and Ogunpa stream is at its lowest volume. The river swells to several times its present volume in the middle of the rains.