The Ogun State Government on Monday began the clearing of the vegetation that blocked a section of Ogun River in the Kara area of the state.
It was gathered that the evacuation, which started around 8am, might take weeks to complete due to the depth of the seaweeds. The weed had also grown in large quantity on the surface of the river.
A section of the river had on Saturday, June, 18, been taken over by vegetation with residents and passersby trooping the scene to take pictures and video recordings. Some people, who saw the blokcade as a mystery, prayed at the scene.
During the supervision of the evacuation on Monday, the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Bolaji Oyeleye, said the exercise was delayed due to the challenge of transporting the needed machinery to the site.
He added that the clearing could last for weeks because of the enormity of the vegitation.
Oyeleye said, “We had planned to do a mechanised clearing of the hyacinths. However, we have been faced with challenges, chief of which was bringing to site a barge upon which the crane for the clearing would be hoisted. The terrains gave us a bit of challenge but the operation has started in earnest and it will take some weeks.”
The commissioner said the area had been cordoned off to prevent people from interfering with the exercise, adding that the officials of the state Ministry of Environment and law enforcement agents had been on the ground.
The Managing Director of Jaakobi Marine Services Limited, the company handling the evacuation, Daniel Akuleyi, said the task was so enormous that he could not say when it would be completed.
He said, “The crane cannot rise very well because of the bridge. I cannot tell when the evacuation would be completed because as we are removing the debris, a lot of it resurfaces. I don’t know the challenge we are likely to encounter as the work goes on.”
A furniture maker, Nua Ojo, demanded a speedy removal of all the debris, saying the river was a means of livelihood for boat operators in the area.
“Since it was blocked, they (boat operators) could not work again. Besides, security agents patrol the river to monitor crimes in this area. This has stopped for two weeks now,” he added.