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A widow’s agony, living in a collapsed building

By Kemi Olatunde

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Mrs Temidayo Abidakun is a 50-year-old widow with six children who after the demise of her husband three years ago has been struggling to survive and cater for the six children he left behind. Despite the danger it poses, she lives in a dilapidated building which she said was built by her late husband over 40 years ago.

Her house is situated at Esure Quarters on Ijoka Road, Akure in an area that is perennially ravaged by floods in the rainy season.

According to her, she earns a living as a subsistence farmer who strive  to take care of her children from the proceeds of the farm.

The widow while speaking with The Hope could not help it as she wiped helpless tears which flowed endlessly down her cheeks as she narrated her ordeal. To her, it is a daunting task to put the house in proper shape. She explained that the responsibilities before her were enormous and coupled with the paucity of funds.

The house could best be described as one in an abysmal state that is unfit for human habitation as any guest who pays a visit to the house would be welcomed by the waterlogged patches which dot every nook and cranny of the environment. No doubt, the number of reptiles that may have found solace within and outside the building would be uncountable.

The evidence of poverty that confronts the widow is pathetic as the environment should have been marked “unsafe for human habitation” in saner climes. The house stands beside a private school in the vicinity and to call it an eyesore isn’t far from the truth as this reporter was welcomed by the thick bushes surrounding the environment.

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Her words: “I do go to the farm alongside my husband when he was alive. He died three years ago. He built the house but it collapsed before my husband died. We have been living in it in this state before the demise of my husband as we have nowhere to go.

“I know that it is dangerous to live here based on the surroundings but I have no choice. I live alone with my children. My first child is married while others work as they are through with school.

“Since a part of the house collapsed, there has not been any help from anybody. I have put my trust in God for help.”

When asked the reason the plot that houses the building was purchased even with its waterlogged terrain, she noted that they were cheated as the initial plot purchased was snatched and handed over to someone else. She said that they  had no choice but to opt for it.

“We informed the man  who sold the plot to us about the condition of the place when it was allocated to us but he assured us that it would not be a problem to build on it. We took him for his words only to erect our structure and it collapse. We have been living here like that because we have no money to build another house. Although, I have  another plot of land somewhere  else I cannot raise funds to work on it. If I can get a buyer who is interested in this place, I will give it out and use the proceeds to put another house in place.”

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According to her, her family is among the first dwellers of Esure quarters off Ijoka road, Akure thereby calling on government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to her aid in providing shelter for her family.

A resident of the community and a retiree, Elder Anthony Aladewolu described water as the major cause of the terrible state of the house noting that the plot has to be properly filled before the commencement of construction of a building on it.

He described the lack of proper drainage on the Ijoka road dualisation which is in progress as the challenge for the community.

He said: “The erosion on Ijoka road is diverted into our community. The government should help us clear the Ofosu water in the community and also expand the drainage.

An amphibious excavator should be brought in by the Government to help channel it properly so that there can be a free flow of water. We will be elated to see this come to fulfillment by the present government.”

He added that more houses have been affected by the erosion.

Another resident who craved anonymity stated that the widow “lives in abject poverty. Before the death of her husband, they struggled to build the house but the volume of water in the environment collapsed it. It is difficult for her to feed not to talk of building another house. The government should assist her by putting a smile on her face to eradicate poverty in her family.”

He stressed the need for the relocation of the widow for safety.

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