By Kunle Adedoyin
Many residents in Lagos, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti have lost properties worth millions of Naira to flood in the last three days just as the ravaging water swept way a final-year student of Adekunle Ajasin University on Monday.
A source said Doyinsola Boluwade, of the Department of Religious and African Studies in the institution, was said to have been swept away by flood while she was going to her place of residence during a downpour.
“The non-stop rainfall brought tragedy upon the university town yesterday (Monday) evening when an undergraduate was swept away to an unknown destination by flood at a canal very close to her place of residence,” a source said.
Mr Ademola Elemukona, landlord of Boluwade, who confirmed the incident, said he narrowly escaped being swept away as he climbed a cocoa tree when the flood raged on.
“Many people thought I had been swept away by the flood, but I thank God that I survived it,” he stated.
The Head, Media and Protocol Unit, AAUA, Mr Victor Akinpelumi, also confirmed the incident.
He said a search party had been organised by the school management to locate the student, but she had yet to be seen.
“The water level is very high and we don’t have professional divers, who can enter the river. But we have contacted the National Emergency Management Agency and some other agencies to assist us find her. As I am talking to you, we are at the scene of the incident seeking solutions,” Akinpelumi said.
Mr Gboyega Adefarati, the Ondo State Commissioner for Agriculture, who visited the scene of the incident, warned the residents to stay away from the canal while the monarch of the town, the Alale of Akungba, Oba Sunday Ajimo, called on NEMA, the federal and state governments to come to the aid of victims of the flood, which he said destroyed some properties.
In Lagos, Balogun Close, Taoridi Street and Muniru Close in the Surulere area of the state have been taken over by the flood as the canal, which was supposed to channel the flood water away from the area, could not offered the expected relief.
Mr Patani Festus, the Chairman of the Landlords/Tenants’ Association for Balogun Close, Muniru Close and Taoridi Street, said the construction of the narrow canal has now compounded residents’ probl;em as water now flows into the streets whenever it rains. Before then, he alleged that rain water used to drain away quickly.
“Government officials worked on the canal sometime ago. The work they did there was very shoddy. They did not construct a proper canal, but a narrow channel, which is not deep enough to take the water away from the streets. Whenever there is rainfall, the water usually flows out of the channel and empties itself into the streets,” he said.
“Sometimes, the impact is so severe that vehicles parked on the streets are covered by the flood. And when this occurs, people will not be able to go to work but remain indoors.”
A resident of the area said the canal needed to be properly constructed, adding that the earlier effort was a World Bank sponsored project that was sabotaged by the officials of the Lagos State Government, who supervised the contract.
He alleged that the officials were only interested in what they could get from the contract and not what would benefit the people.
He added that the association had written many letters to the state government and the local council development area without any response.
Mr Joe Igbokwe, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage, who acknowledged the development said the affected areas had been included in the list of communities that his office would work on in the dry season.
In Osun State, goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed at the Akindeko Market, Alekuwodo area, of Osogbo, the state capital as a torrential rainfall that lasted several hours on Tuesday came with massive flooding of the areas surrounding the market.
The rain, which started around 6am and lasted several hours, led to the flooding of many streets in the state capital.
The Akindeko Market was completely submerged as the flood also washed away bridges and cut off many communities in Osogbo.
Affected areas included Igbona, Testing Ground, Ayekale, Awosuru, Rasco Alli and Alekuwodo where the flood impeded human and vehicular movement for several hours.
Many traders at the Akindeko Market lamented their inability to salvage majority of their ware due to the large volume of water that took over the area.
“Something like this has not happened in the past eight years. During Aregbesola’s first term, the market was reconstructed and there had not been flood since then,” a pepper seller at the market said.
“Men of the Osun State Fire Service got to the scene early to ensure that no one was trapped in the flood.”
In Ekiti State, many communities were rendered impassable on Tuesday, as the raging flood left many commuters and residents stranded for several hours. This followed heavy rain that started on Monday morning and did not subside until around 3pm on Tuesday,
Parts of Ado Ekiti, the state capital, were heavily flooded, while Are Ekiti, Iworoko, Aramoko, Agbado and Ogbese were also not left out by the ravaging flood.
In Ado Ekiti, the Ureje Bridge on the Ado-Ikare Road and bridges on the River Elemi on the Ado-Iworoko Road and Ado-Afao Road were submerged, thereby making human and vehicular movement impossible.
Travelers in and out of the state through the Aramoko-Ado Ekiti Road were stranded as the bridge in the Ile-Ona area of the road was also submerged.
Many workers at the State Secretariat Complex did not turn up for work as many civil servants had to turn back home as flood took over almost all the roads in the capital city.
The schools were also affected as most pupils and teachers could not make it to their schools, while those who managed to get to school had difficult times returning home after school hours.
Mr Gbenga Agbeyo, the state Commissioner for the Environment, described the situation as worrisome but assured the residents that it would be redressed.
He appealed for more understanding with the government.
“I have been moving round to observe things and the situation is unfortunate. I want to urge our people to be patient and show more understanding with us. Something will be done very soon,” he said.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency have visited the bridge and the road to the polytechnic, and all I can tell our people is to expect government attention soon.”