The advent of rainy season, (sometimes, resulted to flood) most especially in the tropic of Africa, Nigeria inclusive always elicits joy and relief not only for farmers, whose crops need water for bountiful harvest, but also for the people, who must have been yearning for clement weather, having been subjected to harsh atmospheric challenges, occasioned by drought.
Hence, many often look forward to the rainy season with great expectation, considering its immense benefits.
However, it was a different case with some residents of Ife communities and students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State on the 29th of July, a torrential rain which lasted hours led to in the destruction of valuable property worth millions of naira and loss of lives, leaving its wake sorrow, anguish and despair.
Terribly affected by the downpour include Road 7 within the campus of OAU, the university dam, which overflown its boundary, lockup shops and fuel stations, located along Ife-Ede road, private hostels for students, situated along Ibadan-Ife highway and some neighbourhoods in Modakeke community.
Findings by the Nigerian Tribune indicated that none of the victims of the devastating flood that accompanied the downpour had an inkling that calamity of immense magnitude could befall them in terms of loss of valuables, most especially household items, products stored in lock up stores, houses trees and many houses where some of the victims were trapped.
When our correspondent visited the affected areas in Ile-Ife on Monday, there were visible traits of the havoc by the rain, which commenced around 9.15 am and lasted till about 8.30 pm, while some residents around Ife-Ede road were spotted trying to salvage few of their remaining property ravaged by the rainfall. Investigation showed that the flood was aggravated by lack of drainage and water channels for streams and other river tributaries.
Sizable plantain trees, numbering over 2,000 planted along the stretch of Ife-Ede road already overwhelmed by the effects of the flood were sighted near Apostolic Church located near petrol station,,which was not spared by the flood disaster.
Recounting her experience, the manager of a Filling Station, situated beside the main gate of OAU campus and which was almost overrun by the flood, Miss Falope Mary said “the rain started around 1.20 pm and by 4.30 pm, the flood entered our filling station and destroyed so many equipment and other facilities”.
According to her, “we had to vacate our premises when we realised that our lives were in danger. The flood completely destroyed our fuel dump and the car wash, you can see some of our office equipment outside because we are trying to sort out few things that could still be useful.”
Falope said “ we lost large quantity of diesel to the flood. And you know that diesel is very expensive with a litre being sold for N225, we lost over 2,000 litres and we also lost more than 1,000 litres of petrol. By the time we calculate this, coupled with other things we have lost, including repairs that would be carried out, we would have incurred about N5 million loss to this terrible incident. For us to repair the fuel dump, they have to dig everything, including the underground tanks”.
She, however, called on the state government to come to their aid in form of assistance to victims of the flood, saying that “we want the government to help us. We also want them to construct drainages and water channels for easy passage of water along the streams with a view to checkmating a recurrence.”
Falope, who also attributed the cause of the flooding to individuals, building their structures on waterways and indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the streams and drainages implored the relevant government agencies to take decisive actions by enforcing environment laws, adding that “government should as a matter of urgency construct drainages on both sides of Ife-Ede road.
She continued: “absence of drainages and culverts on the waterways around this area actually worsened the flood. When there was no passage for the flood caused by the long hours of downpour, the water took over the road and almost submerged our fuel station before it veered off to enter the church on the opposite side of the road”.
Another victim of the flood, identified as Rueben Peters also corroborated the position of Falope, contending that government should compel owners of building to create space for setbacks and also construct drainages, as precautionary measures to stave off flood disaster.
“Some of our people are part of these environmental problems. They should desist from dumping refuse and waste product inside drainages and streams to avoid this kind of disasters. But, the government should come to our aid by carrying out appropriate action to assuage the effects of this flooding on our people.
“At Ibadan-Ife expressway, some students are still trapped in their hostels and could not come out. Even, the people that tried to rescue them yesterday (Sunday) could not do anything.”
Baring his mind on the flood incident, another resident of Ife, Mr Bukola Adewale John, a graduate of Mathemathics from the University of Ibadan said “what happened day in Ife during the flood caused by heavy rainfall was terrible. I would appeal to the government to do more in the construction of drainage, and water channels”.
He posited that “the rain started in the morning around 9.00 am and subsided in the evening. Though, it was not very heavy, it rained for longer hours and the effects overstretched the capacity of existing drainages in Ile-Ife, thereby resulting into flood. When I drove out yesterday evening, I was amazed by the worrisome level of damage I saw around OAU and the road that leads to Osogbo and Ede towns. So many shops and houses were affected.”
“If there were water channels and drains, the effects of the flooding could have been mitigated and we would not have found ourselves in this kind of situation. I would only appeal to the government to intervene by helping the victims of this flood disaster to get over this experience”, John remarked.
Similarly, a motor mechanic, whose workshop is near the residences destroyed by the flood around Ibadan road, identified as Karimu Yusuf said “we were at home yesterday when some people came to call us that our workshop had been taken over by flood and some of the vehicles were floating. I have been working here for the past four years and I have never witnessed that kind of rainfall.”
Yusuf added; “the rain was too much such that I was wondering if God was angry with us. If you look at this stream, it is wide because recently the state government brought earthmoving equipment to expand the frontiers of the stream. But, they need to excavate it more so that large volume of water can pass when there is heavy rainfall”.
“We want to use this opportunity to beg Osun State government to build concrete walls that can checkmate the water level so that it won’t overflow to cause flooding in our area here because we have many students living in private hostels around this particular neighbourhood. About 12 students were rescued yesterday by the men of the Osun State Fire Fighting Service”, he further disclosed.
@ Nigerian Tribune