By Emeka Mamah and Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA—About four months after a commercial motorcyclist and his passenger (student) lost their lives to flooding at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, entrance , a 28 year old businessman, Kevin Eze also died on the same spot.Late Eze died on Tuesday, last week, after he was swept off with his motorcycle by flood water shortly after a heavy downpour in the university town.
Eze, who hailed from nearby Ihakpu Awka in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State had already returned to the village with his wife, Uzoamaka, who was discharged from a hospital, where she had a still birth, a day before the ugly incident.
The deceased was said to have traveled back to his apartment along University Road, Nsukka, to collect some items needed in the village when he met his untimely death.Eze was reported to have collected the said items and decided to return to the village to be with his wife who was still grappling with the trauma of her misfortune when he ran into the rampaging flood which swept him and his motorcycle into the drainage adjacent to the university gate at about 7.30 pm.His lifeless body was discovered at Alor Uno, a neighbouring community the following morning, but his motorcycle is yet to be found.
When Vanguard visited his family house at Uwani Neke, Iheakpu Awka, his 24 year old wife, Uzoamaka Eze, narrated how the incident happened.“I lost my first child immediately after delivery. My late husband, Kevin and I had already returned to our family house in the village. However, on the following day, around 6 pm, he told me he wanted to go to our apartment at Nsukka to bring some of our belongings which we would need. He left the house before it started raining. The heavy rain stopped around 7:30 pm, so, we expected that he would return immediately after. When we did not see him around 9 pm, we started calling his phone number only to discover that it was switched off.
“We felt he was going to return, but when we did not see him, one of his brothers went in search of him that night but all his efforts were futile. The following day, we organized a search party which discovered his corpse at Alor Uno, near Nsukka.I knew he was rushing back to keep me company and console me over the loss of our first child before the flood overwhelmed him,” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes.The mother of the deceased who pleaded anonymity only managed to ask, “does it mean my son is not coming back home again?” and began to weep uncontrollably.
Those who encountered late Eze who was a wine and cosmetic dealer along University Market Road said he was hardworking and peace-loving.When Vanguard visited his shop, one of his peers in the trade, Sunday Abonyi, said ”flooding has snuffed life out of a quiet but hardworking young man, who never looked for problems but carried on with his trade diligently.I’m shocked about this sad development. He was a hardworking young man who never looked for trouble. It’s so sad we lost him. Government should do something urgently to address the faulty drainage which normally results in flooding at that spot. Every year, so many lives are lost at the same spot. Kevin’s case was not the first and may not be the last if something is not done urgently to address the situation. Five other victims died this year alone and the rains have not finally stopped”
A car cleaner in the vicinity, Martin Eya, said ”Eze died at night when we had closed for the day.We came out the following morning only to be greeted with the sad news of his death. This road is now a death trap whenever it rains. We were at work one rainy afternoon about four months ago when flood overwhelmed one commercial motorcyclist carrying a student. I and other able-bodied men chased them across the other side of the school gate to see if we could rescue them but to no avail.So many people have been dying on this spot whenever it rained heavily. Eze’s case is the fourth only this year. Another victim died near Ikenga Hotel in the town. Something should be done urgently to address this menace.”
However, a female trader also in the vicinity who spoke on condition of anonymity said ”some people die at the spot due to impatience.I was in my shop after one rainy day, two years ago, when a commercial motorcyclist ignored others who were sheltering from the downpour to try his luck. People warned him to stop until the flooding subsided but he did not listen. He entered the flood and was swept with his motorcycle into the drainage channel.Another commercial motorcyclist who also died there was carrying a woman.
On seeing the volume of water, the woman pleaded that he should stop for her but before she could cross to the other side of the road, the flood swept the cyclist away and he died.Another victim from Ibagwa Ani, one of the neighbouring communities, was riding under the rain when the flood overpowered him and siezed his motorcycle. He was dragging the motorcycle with the flood inside the drainage channel when he drowned. Most of the victims died due to impatience. They didn’t wait for the flooding to subside before continuing their journey”.