A Flood scene
OYO - MANY houses, churches, mosques and shops in some parts of Ibadan were in the early hours of Sunday submerged in flood as a result of a rain which started on Saturday evening and lasted till the early hours of Sunday.
In some areas visited by our source, namely Olugbode end of Odo-Ona and Oke-Ayo, in Ibadan South-West Local Government Area of Oyo State on Sunday July 15, 2012, said no life was reported lost, but many residents were rendered homeless with personal belongings worth millions of naira lost in what looked like a repeat of the fatal August 26, 2011 flood disaster, which claimed many lives and properties in the city.
One of the residents of Oyelade Street, Odo-Ona, Ibadan, Mr Abdulrahaman Bello, a factory worker at 7UP Bottling Company, whose personal belongings were still trapped in his apartment at the time our source visited the place, said, “I have lost everything to the flood. All my electronics and other valuables are gone. I only relocated to this place in January and nobody hinted me that this house was prone to flood until after I had settled in.
“Ever since I learnt that there could be flooding after heavy rain, I told my wife that whenever I was not around and there was rain, she should try and pack some of our belongings upstairs and move out of the house with the children. But I don’t know why she failed to pack them last night as I was away at work on night duty,” he said in a faint voice.
A shop owner in the area, Mrs Ranti Owolanfe, said: “The houses affected have been witnessing flood since 1980. I could remember at that time that people were helped with ladder before they could come out of the house. Also in 2011, the same thing happened. In fact, everyone in that house had to leave. But it is so sad that months after, we saw the estate agent placing an advert in front of the house that rooms were available for rent.”
Mr Emeka Chris, a poultry farmer, who is a resident of Babalakin House, Ogunremi Street, Oke-Ayo, Ibadan, narrated the story of how he lost his Toyota Camry car to the flood last year and how he had been coping with staying in the house one year after and witnessing another flood disaster.
He said, “I was staying downstairs before but when the person living upstairs left, I had to move.
“The experience has been so terrible because I lost one of my cars to the last flood that happened. Up till now, I am yet to recover all that I lost.”
When asked how he managed to come out of the house, he said, “somebody came and started calling me to come out and I carried the children and my wife out of the house before the water then got out of control. That was around 4.30 a.m.”
Chris, however, urged the government to demolish structures that are very close to the river and channelise the river like it was done to the Ogunpa River, adding that without this, the flood would be a yearly occurrence.
Our source reliably gathered that the Oyo State government had intended to demolish some houses in some of the riverine areas of Oke-Ayo, Odo-Ona, after the 2011 flood, but the landlord association of the affected areas dragged the state government to court in order to stop it from carrying out the exercise.
It was then that the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, told them that they would be at the mercy of flood, if they stopped the government from demolishing the houses and relocate them to another place that would be provided by the government in order to begin work on the river. The governor added that government would not take responsibility for any future flood disaster thereafter.
Our source recalls that nine members of Mr Olukunle Oke family, including a pregnant woman and a four-month old baby lost their lives during the August 26, 2011 flood at Oke-Ayo, Odo-Ona Ibadan.
Meanwhile, residents of Apete community in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Sunday, also woke up to discover that they had once again been cut off from the other parts of city, when the temporary pedestrian bridge constructed to ease movement in and out of the community was destroyed by flood before daybreak, as a result of the rain which started on Saturday.
It will be recalled that the pedestrian bridge was constructed about seven weeks ago to serve the residents of the community and to enable the contractor to start work on the construction of a new bridge to replace the one that was washed away during the flood that occurred on August 26, 2011.
When our source visited the bank of the river over which the bridge was built, the flood water flowed in high current while the earth had eaten deep on the river sides, showing imminent collapse if stood on for too long.
Many residents of the community, who converged on the river bank, expressed displeasure at what they termed insensitivity on the part of the state government towards the plight of the community, going by the calibre of the contractor handling the bridge work and the pace at which the work was going.
One of the residents, Mr Gbola Olajire, who spoke with our source, said it was unfortunate that residents of Apete were being regarded as animals, while the community was being seen as a village, hence its neglect by successive governments.
He stated further that the energy and fund being dissipated towards the flyover bridge at Mokola should have been channelled towards areas such as Apete and others.
Many residents going to their places of worship stood at the river side, unsure of what to do, while others turned back, with a view to finding churches within the community to worship.
Meanwhile, students of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, have said they would converge on the Apete riverside on Monday, to protest being cut off from getting to their institution.
This is just as they threatened that they would not allow the contractor to continue work until an alternative was found for Apete residents.
The students, led by one Adebowale Falana, lamented that the government had failed in its promise, which was made through the commissioner for works, that pedestrian bridges would be constructed to complement the one washed away by the flood.
“If it took about three days to construct the pedestrian bridge that was washed away, you can imagine that we may be holed in our homes for the next one week. Our exams are fast approaching and we must have access to our school,” he added.
The government has, therefore, said but for the measures it undertook late last year and early in the year in constructing nine critically dilapidated bridges and dredging 43 rivers and streams across the state, the flooding that occurred in Ibadan, between Saturday and Sunday, would have been worse.
The government made this known in a release issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo, on Sunday.
According to the release, government undertook the dredging of the rivers and construction of the bridges so as to prevent the reoccurrence of August 26, 2011 flooding in the state, wherein many people lost their lives and properties.
The release said upon hearing the calls of residents in the early hours of Sunday, government immediately dispatched a team of commissioners, special advisers, State Emergency Management Agency officials, as well as the state fire-fighting team to the affected areas, so as to have a first-hand assessment of the flooding.
According to the release, the report of the team would also enable the government to assess further urgent areas of intervention of the state, as well as boost its flood-fighting mechanisms.