Flood victims in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun recount ordeals
Flood victims in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun recount ordeals
By Adetokunbo Abiola, Josephine Oguntoyinbo,
Kemi Olatunde, Jimoh Ahmed, Fisayo Akinduro
Victor Akinkuolie & Agbelusi Ganiyu
Submerged houses, flooded rice farms, damaged roads; these are some of the consequences of the peak period of the flooding season for the year 2019.
A farmer in Mile 140 near Ogbese, Mrs. Dupe Kelly, had cultivated three to five hectares of her rice farm six weeks ago, but when the period of rainfall intensity arrived, she could not enter her farm.
At Idanre, 91-year-old Festus Olamiti could do nothing but lament over his situation, because the house he built over seven decades ago had been destroyed by the flood.
In Ekiti, a physically challenged student at the Ekiti State University, Olaniran Ibunkun, lost her household materials and books to the rainfall when she attended a special programme organized by her church.
In August, Mr. Clement Nze, the Director General of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency, warned Nigerians to prepare for more floods due to the high rainfall intensity of a long duration in the country.
Nze had said the period would be characterized by rainfalls, rainstorms and blockages of the drainage system, causing challenges resulting from the erection of structures within the flood plains and waterways.
Unfortunately, few people were prepared for the rainfall intensity, and it seems Nze’s predictions have come true, as over 600 hectares of rice farms in Uso/Ogbese axis of Ondo State have been submerged as a result of torrential rain in the last 10 days.
Also, in Idanre, Oka and Ikare-Akoko, incidents of floods destroying several houses and fish farms have been recorded.
It has also ravaged towns in Osun and Ekiti States. Majority of the farmers who are under the aegis of Federated FADAMA Rice Association in Uso/Ogbese said they could no longer access their farms as the entire areas have been flooded.
Lamenting the loss, one of the coordinators of the group, Pastor Olayinka Labiran, said 373 farmers cultivated the farms, with each having at least one hectare.
He added that the farmers took loans under the Federal Government/CBN Anchor Borrowers scheme through the Bank of Agriculture.
Labiran disclosed that the affected farmers are mourning because of the loss. He stressed that even the swampy area in the farm had never experienced such.
When asked if there was hope of salvaging the farms, Labiran said the place had been completely submerged by flood, which had not receded for four days.
While saying the loan was insured, Labiran called on the state and federal governments and particularly the insurance company to visit the farms, saying they could not calculate their loss until the water receded.
Describing the loss as a monumental one, the Coordinator of Asolo Rice Farm in Uso, Mr Oluwafemi Ibikunle, noted that nothing less than four thousand tonnes of rice would have been harvested from the Uso farm.
Coordinator of Elfash group, Mr Toyin Fasakin, noted that the 78 farmers under him cultivated a minimum of three hectares, lamenting that they had been submerged.
Also in Ikare and Oka-Akoko, many houses and roads have been washed off by erosion resulting from flooding.
At Ikare, many houses have collapsed due to erosion, while many township roads have become impassable or cut off.
Roads from Okoja to Osele High School, Ikado to Agolo High School and Okoja, Ikun to Awara dam, just to mention a few, are in deplorable condition due to erosion.
At Oka-Akoko, roads leading to Iwonrin, Ikese and part of Ibaka have been washed away by erosion.
In what could be seen as a rain of no mercy, Idanre in Ondo State and its immediate environment witnessed the resultant flood that saw many houses submerged and properties worth millions of naira destroyed. Areas affected by the flood included Oke-Mapo, Opa, Yaba, Alade Idanre among others.
Victims of the flooding have appealed to government and relevant agencies to urgently come to their aid, saying the incidence has rendered them homeless and jobless.
It would be recalled that properties worth millions of naira and several houses were destroyed during the early downpour which wrecked havoc in the council area at the weekend.
A victim, Mr Taye Akinyemi, a retiree, lamented that he had invested all his savings in his fish pond business, regretting that everything had been destroyed by the flood.
Another victim who identified herself as Bolatito narrated that she was left with nothing except the cloth on her.
A retired teacher who was also affected by the flood narrated that all he had worked for in his entire life were gone, as the flood demolished his only house and his business center.
The latest rain which started around 3am lasted for more than four hours and caught many people unawares, as nothing showed that danger of such magnitude was coming. At Alade- Idanre, some four kilometers away from Idanre township, churches of a white-garment denomination were completely relocated, with only the roof of one of them seen by The Hope some poles away from its former place.
Part of the fence of St. Paul`s Anglican Church, Odode Idanre was uprooted by the flood. The palatial building of the first traditional leader of Alade-Idanre, Chief Akinboro, built in 1937, was reduced to rubbles- just like the one belonging to a notable politician, Chief Basorun Akinloye Akinmboni, which had its fences fallen apart and washed away by the rain. One needs to enter Basorun Akinloye`s building to see that he had really lost millions of naira worth. Different types of electronic equipments and other expensive household needs were destroyed. Properties worth millions of naira inside the hotel had the destructive touch of the flood that trailed the four-hour rain which recorded scary thunderstorms. Even animals, especially reptiles like snakes and big rats, were displaced, with some of them meeting their untimely deaths in the process. At Majo Street, The Hope saw electric poles uprooted by the flood.
In Yaba Quarter, the bridges were submerged and people could not move from one part of the town to another. Many fences were equally rendered defenceless, as they were shifted. The bus of Christ Apostolic Church was buried in the water that was everywhere. Houses around the Olowogbade Area, close to the Oto Stream which crisscrossed the town were seriously affected. The Basic Health Centre axis of the town also had the bitter taste of the flood, while even Chief John, the Oluoke, a traditional ruler whose house was along Ala Road, had every reason to wish the rain had not fallen. He lost properties in millions, apart from his house that was destroyed.
Mrs Bolaji Akinbola , a foodseller along Oke Mapo St, Alade- Idanre, had all the raw food she kept washed away, and was only lucky not to have gone with her mattress. Mrs. Bose Akinnayajo, a mother of four, aged 54, was another lucky survivor who was trapped by the flood and had to be rescued hours after the rain had stopped. Mr. Omolayo Orosun lamented that all the iron rods and bags of cement which he had kept for the construction of the lintel level of his house and the crops he planted behind his house were washed away, but he consoled himself philosophically that he did not lose his life after all.
Mr. Joseph Ejim Ogabor showed what used to be their kitchen, where the mortar, pestles and other kitchen utensils were carted away by the rain flood. Mrs Monisola Akinbola had her circular machine used for cutting planks to size shifted, while her roof with its electricity metering structure was carried far away by the flood, which went with planks she estimated to be about three hundred thousand naira (N300,000). Two other elderly men seen by The Hope looked gloomy as they both expressed sadness, not only because their household properties were destroyed, but because their retirement documents were gone with the unexpected visitor.
High Chief Oladipo Akinsowon, the Lisa of Alade Idanre, who is by Idanre tradition next in rank to the traditional ruler of the town, expressed his pity, because a lot of properties and money went away with the rain. The rain brought sadness, because it destroyed the historical palace of the first leader of the area, Chief Akinboro; the once beautiful edifice had become rubbles. The same thing happened to the hotel of Hon. Akinloye Akinmboni, who is having this type of flood invasion for the second time, as well as the buildings of many people in the area, including Professor Jejelola. He called on National Emergency Management Agency to come and help the people with relief materials and money.
His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr) Frederick Adegunle Aroloye, Arubiefin IV (JP)OFR, the Owa of Idanre and Paramount Ruler of Idanre Kingdom, who is restricted by an ongoing traditional festival from moving outside his palace, sent a delegation to sympathize with the people, and he prayed that God will not allow such disaster to occur again.
Residents of Ekiti State who were recently affected by the last weekend flooding have also recounted their ordeals.
One hundred houses had been submerged, while many inhabitants of the affected buildings have been rendered homeless. They are presently taking refugee in various parts of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
When our correspondent visited Osekita, off-campus hostel of the students of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, a two hundred-level student of the Department of English in the institution, Oluyemi Oladele, said the flood damaged some of his personal belongings such as mattress, electrical appliance and some of his vital documents.
He admitted that he was one of those that benefited from the relief materials distributed by the Ekiti State Government, but he appealed to other philanthropists as well as religious organizations to come to the aid of the students that were affected by the flood.
Another resident of Ureje along Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi, lamented over the loss of his property- which he said amounted to several thousands of naira.
Ajayi appealed to public-spirited individuals by offering some assistance to him in order to replace the lost items, a move that would enable him to come back to normal life. Another victim of the flood, Mrs. Eunice Aribisala, a resident of Onala Zone B Afao Road, Ado-Ekiti, appealed to the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) as well as civil and religious organizations to assist her to replace some of the goods damaged by the flood in her house.
She explained that she had been living with a friend at Ajilosun area in Ado-Ekiti since the incident occurred; lamenting over the situation which she said had rendered her homeless.
Similarly, in a visit to Eminrin area of Ado-Ekiti, one of the victims of the flood, Mr Emmanuel Adeniran, a retired civil servant, lamented over what he called perennial flooding in the area every year.
He disclosed that the situation had forced some of the residents of the area to relocate to another street in the state. He called on the Ekiti State Government to embark on the channelisation of Ureje River, which will finally put an end to their plights.
Another victim and resident of Aba-Oyinbo in Ado-Ekiti metropolis, Mr. Sunday Olajide, said he could not give a vivid and actual amount of money he lost during the incident.
Olajide , a teacher in one of the public primary school in Ado-Ekiti, explained that members of the community have solicited for support from the successive administrations, both from local, state and federal to channelise the age-long Ureje River.
He called on the governments, religious organizations as well as public-spirited individuals to come to the aid of the victims in donating relief materials to them, saying the move would ameliorate some of their plights.
Some towns in Osun State too were not left out of the flood ravaging some states in the country.
Last week, flood sacked some residents in Ibokun town at Obokun Local Government Area and goods and property worth millions on naira were destroyed.
Azeez Adekanbi, a shop owner, said he could do nothing to save his shop, as he watched the flood wash away his goods, which were his only source of livelihood.
Adekanbi said the flood came as a result of a torrential rainfall which led to heavy flooding, washing away major roads in the town.
Accessing the flooded road has been an Herculean task for residents, motorists and motorcyclists plying the route.
The flood also seems to have damaged goods inside the nearby house and mosque as well as submerging a farmland around the mosque.
The flooded area is strategic to the economic development of the state, as it connects some major towns like Ikirun, Iragbiji, Ipetu, Ibokun , Esa-Oke, Ijebujesa, Ilesa up to Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi States and the Federal Capital Territory.
Also in Osogbo, an upsurge of Osun River displaced many residents and wrecked serious havoc in some parts of the metropolis.
Some of the affected areas at the heart of the town are Gbodofon Community, Awosuru Area, Onitodunu Baruwa Area, Idowu Ajibola Area, Oke Arungbo Estate (Zone 10&11) and Ibu-Amo community among others.
Alhaji Moshood Adigun, a resident, stated that they never knew Osun River could overflow to that extent, noting that most of the houses were built very far from the river, wondering what could have caused the unfortunate incident.
Another resident, who simply identified herself as Mummy Precious, described the incident as unfortunate, calling on the state government to come to their aid.
In her words, “We are calling on the government under the leadership of good Governor Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola to come to our aid. We are in need of his assistance urgently.
“Government should help us. We are not planning to relocate but we need help.”
Meanwhile, the state government has promised to find immediate solution to the incident by dredging the river.
Government leaders have been responding to the calamities that have befallen the people, but it is not clear whether aids can succour people from the monumental losses they have incurred.
At Idanre, the law-maker representing Idanre State Constituency, Mr. Festus Akingbaso, assured affected victims that their plight would by channeled to the appropriate authorities for solutions.
The Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Environment, Tayo Adeniyi said government had foreseen the flood, and had deployed swamp buggy in parts of the state, but had not bargained for the intensity of the storms, which he said was caused by climate change.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State promised to find an immediate solution to the over flooding river, although he also appealed to the federal government to assist the state in combating flood disasters.
No matter the degree of response by the authorities, they would not have bargained for the rainfall intensity of this year, so they would not have bargained for the quantity of aid they may have to summon to cushion the trail of the victims.