Lamentation as houses, churches, vehicles submerged by Ibadan flood

Several houses, church buildings and cars were submerged after a downpour in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Tuesday.

This is just as many residents of Owerri, Imo State, were left devastated after floods destroyed their houses and goods.

In Ibadan, the rain started in some areas on Monday evening and continued until early Tuesday.

In other parts of the city, the rain began in the middle of the night till around 9am on Tuesday.

Most of the affected areas were located close to the banks of some rivers, including Orogun, Akinyele, Onipepeye on Old Ife Road, Dandaru Junction on Mokola/UCH Road and Olodo.

One of our correspondents visited some of the flooded areas and observed that many residents were trapped in their houses by the floods.

While many of them stood on elevated makeshift platforms in front of their homes, others took refuge on rooftops and higher floors of their houses.

In Orogun, a church building was submerged in water. Despite efforts of men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to bring those trapped in the house of God to safety, they said they preferred to stay on an elevated platform until the water subsided.

At the Onipepeye area on Old Ife Road, many houses were affected as the water swept several cars from where they were parked.

Some of the affected owners of the houses blamed residents who dumped rubbish into the rivers and streams in their areas for the incident.

They also called on the state government to enforce the state environmental law.

Other residents blamed the government for sacking private waste management companies with no alternative arrangement.

The state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Adisa Isola, said the government made efforts to avert the incident.

He blamed the flooding on those who built houses and shops on water channels.

He said, “Many people are complying with environmental laws in the state now. We started preparing for this in December 2016 through a World Bank assisted project. Fourteen rivers and streams were dredged. This year, we have dredged 36 streams and rivers.

“This cannot be repeated every year because it is just a palliative measure. That is why we are working on three master plans for Ibadan that will take care of this issue.

“The attitude of our people is responsible for this flooding. They have refused to obey the setback rules and instead, they build houses on river channels. It puts pressure on the drainage channels.”

The Public Relations Officer of the Oyo State Command of the NSCDC, Oluwole Olusegun, told our correspondent that a team, led by the state commandant, John Adewoye, rescued many people who were trapped in the floods.

He said, “Due to the heavy rain in the early hours of today  (Tuesday), many rivers overflowed their boundaries. The officers and men of the NSCDC, led by the state commandant, John Adewoye, cordoned some roads off in order to rescue people.

“Some people were, however, adamant on staying in their homes until the water subsided.”

In Owerri, the rain which started at about 3.30pm and ended about 5.01pm on Monday forced traders to close shops, while some residents were trapped in residential buildings.

A trader, Mr. Isdore Okeukwu, who had a shop on Chikwere Street, said all his goods were destroyed.

He attributed the flooding to the poor drainage channels in the capital city.

Okeukwu said, “The drainage channels are all blocked, but the government has not made any effort to clear them.

“Rubble from destroyed property along the roads in the name of urban renewal projects also blocked the drainage channels, leading to this mess.”

A resident of the capital city, Mrs. Juliet Ndiagaba, told our correspondent that she had been rendered homeless.

Ndiagaba, a widow, said, “My bed, TV, files and other valuables were destroyed by the flood.”

She told PUNCH Metro that she went to work, adding that by the time she came back, her apartment had been flooded.

She said, “My children are on mid-term break and they have been in the house of my elder brother for the one-week break, no person was around to save any property.”

A senior officer of the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission, who requested that his name should not be mentioned,  said the flooding was due to lack of adequate drainage system.

“The high level of destruction of property and roads in the metropolis also caused the flooding. Everywhere had been blocked by the rubble from property destroyed for urban renewal projects.”Punch

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