OLA AJAYI, IBADAN
With the intense heat from the sun that Sunday afternoon, it was a big relief around 11pm when residents of Ibadan, Oyo State capital saw the cloud gathering preparatory to the first rain of the year. However, the joy that greeted the change of weather was short-lived. Suddenly, the gentle breeze which gave way to a drizzle later turned into wind and then a destructive storm.
Many people turned to prayer warriors begging God to have mercy on them especially when tales of woes left behind by the August 26, 2011 floods in the city were yet to be forgotten in some families.
But, it seemed the gods would not be appeased. At the end of the rain that fell till the following day, the damage done by storm an unforgettable experience.
At least one person was confirmed dead at Asolo area of Ibadan while three others left on its trail were reportedly killed at Soka area when the roof of their building fell. The death of the three persons was not confirmed officially.
In the aftermath of the storm, about 1,000 houses in the city were destroyed, according to the State Emergency Management Agency through its Chief Situation Welfare Officer, Alhaji Tayo Ayoade. SEMA spoke just as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) promised relief materials for the victims.
The South West spokesman of NEMA, Alhaji Ibrahim Farinloye, said the relief materials would be ready for distribution this week.
Unlike the 2011 storm, Ayoade, the SEMA chief, said the damage from the Sunday incident was minimal and making resettlement camps for the victims might not be necessary.
Meanwhile, owners and occupants of the houses which roofs were blown off by the storm were seen trying to pick some of their property.
Worst hit are Ajegunle, Olorunsogo, Toll Gate, Felele, Basorun, Muslim, Soka, Fodasis, Ring Road, Baba Nla, Challenge, Molete and Olunloyo. Also affected are Ighodalo, Academy, Omiyale, Olomi, Olunde, Ayegun, Aba-Alfa, Jaloke, Papa-Eleye, Aladi, Ire-Akari all in Oluyole Local Government Area.
Property worth millions of naira were destroyed by the storm. Apart from buildings, several vehicles were also badly damaged.
Miss Kafayat Ahmed, who lives at Ighodalo area of the city, said, “Almost all buildings in this area were affected by the storm. Some houses either collapsed or had their roofs blown off.
As you can see, many. The storm removed a building roof and dropped it on top of a Sports Utility Vehicle.”
A man, who identified himself as Wasiu Ogundare, spoke in tears, “Where do I start from now, after so many years of constructing this house? Who will help me? Governor Abiola Ajimobi has, in the meantime, directed government officials to move round and help the victims.