•Survivors count losses
•Oyo govt vows to demolish houses on waterways
By OLA AJAYI, IBADAN
Though the flood that ravaged some parts of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, in the early hours of Tuesday has come and gone, it has left hollowness in the lives of some families.
While some residents are thankful to God that it did not leave on its trail deaths like the one of August 26, 2011, the victims don’t actually know whether to be joyful for not dying in the furious flood. Apart from the fact that some of the victims are homeless, their future is uncertain. Many of them claimed that unless urgent help comes their way, they may have to face hard times from hunger, poverty and nakedness. As of the time of filing this story, some of them were counting their losses.
When Sunday Vanguard went to speak with residents on the disaster, it was found that, in Wofun area of Ibadan, the flood delayed students of Ark of God International School, Lasting Glory and some public schools in that part of the metropolis from starting their National Examination Council, NECO, and Junior WAEC. The proprietress of the Ark of God, Mrs Abiola Bayonle, said the flood delayed students in the area for several hours.
She narrated, “At Adeyipo area, there is an extension of road going on. So, it was the road extension work that did not allow free passage of water and this resulted in flooding. That day, the students had NECO and Junior WAEC examinations. The students were to write English Language. The Junior WAEC was to start at 9am while the NECO exam was scheduled for 10am.
“At 8:30am, my students called to inform me that they could not cross the river. As time ticked very close to their examination time, they started crying. There were about 30 of them. After they had stayed there for about two hours, the flood subsided but still nobody could enter it. I too had to risk it. There were trucks crossing the river when the force had reduced. Some people hanged to the trucks to cross the river.”
“But for the students, we had to hire elderly people to put them on their back like babies to cross the overflowed river”.
Miss Abimbola Ajayi, one of the affected JSS students, said, “I was very afraid when we got to the overflowed river. It was so serious. No one could cross.. We and some students of Ark of God International School and other schools around waited impatiently for the flood to subside. We waited for about two hours. If we did not have a paper for that day, we would have gone back home. Some students who wanted to write NECO were also with us. It got to a point that some of us were crying because we knew the time of exam was already approaching and there was no certainty that the river would calm down. “Later, some adults were mounting us on their back to help us cross to the other side of the river. I wasn’t myself throughout the examination period. Since that day, anytime I see the cloud gathering, I am afraid”.
At Olodo and Orogun areas, some churches were submerged. The wall of a Celestial Church of Christ at UI Second Gate, Orogun was pulled down by the flood. Gbekuba, Onipepeye, Bodija, Omi Adio, among other places in the state capital, were also affected.
THE OYO PROMISE
Meanwhile, Oyo State government has promised to support affected residents, noting that there would be prompt repair of roads, culverts and drainages affected by the flood.
The state Deputy Governor, Otunba Moses Adeyemo, made the promise when he led officials of the state government, the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Authority (SEMA) to the flooded areas of the state capital.
Adeyemo warned residents to stop dumping refuse on waterways, noting, “It is unfortunate this has happened despite the preventive measures put in place by government which include dredging of rivers, urban renewal and various sensitization programmes. Despite this, some of our people have not stopped the habit of dumping refuse indiscriminately.
“However, we will not rest on our oars; our government, being a responsible one, will provide succor for the affected people and commence repairs of roads, culverts and drainages demaged by the flooding. We hope to complete the repairs before the end of this year.”
The deputy governor admonished residents to play their role to stop flood in the future in Ibadan by adhering to environmental laws and patronizing Oyo State government registered waste disposal agents, saying house owners at river banks should relocate or leave their residences during downpour.
He lamented the attitude of structural engineers who do not leave set-backs before constructing buildings while asking for professional building ethics to ensure due process is followed.
The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Chief Isaac Ishola, advised residents to desist from dumping refuse in drainages and water ways, pointing out that the acts largely contribute to persistent flooding. To check future occurrence, he said all structures built on waterways would be demolished.
A representative of NEMA, Mr. Yakubu Sulaiman, promised the body’s readiness to always support the state in emergenncy situations.
The places visited by the team are the Celestial Church of Christ, Orogun; Ojoo-Shasha Road; Egberi River, Olodo; Ipari-Oda-Oki-Orogbangba area; and Onipepeye River, Old Ife Road, Ibadan.
Ibadan: One state capital, many flood disasters
In Ibadan, flooding appears to be a frequent occurrence.
In 1960 and 1961, thousands of residents of then capital of Western Region but now the capital of Oyo State were rendered homeless when flood disaster struck. Barely two years later, precisely in 1963, roughly 600 houses were reportedly submerged and property worth millions of naira destroyed. Similar experience was said to have been recorded in 1969 as flood reportedly destroyed houses and farmlands in the city.
The situation took a turn for the worse as, in 1978, a devastating flood swept through the city, leaving about 32 dead while several others were forced out of their houses. Just as residents had some moment of respite, another flood disaster hit Ibadan in 1980, leaving no fewer than 100 people dead.
Though Ogunpa channelisation, conceived in 1977, to address the problem of flooding in Ibadan metropolis was completed in 1999, 11 years after, shortly after incumbent Governor Abiola Ajimobi assumed office, precisely on August 26, 2011, hundreds of people, including a man whose family of seven perished in a church when the rushing flood swept them away, lost their lives.
In 2013, a similar flood happened though with a lower casualty figure when compared with that of 2011. The bodies of three men including a policeman were recovered in a pond close to the Agodi Gardens. The incident of February 2, 2016 did not record any casualty in the metropolis but property were destroyed.