Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
At least five people were killed while several others sustained varying degrees of injuries as rainstorm wrecked havoc in Jalingo in the early hours of saturday.
Among those injured were eight Youth Corps members, nine students of Taraba State University, Jalingo and the Chaplain of St. Thomas Aquinas Chaplaincy, Rev. Fr. Pontianus Jaffla.
Besides, properties worth several billions of naira, including private and public buildings, were destroyed by the rainstorm, which started at about 6.00 am and left many residents counting their losses.
The incident is coming barely two weeks after a heavy downpour accompanied by a heavy thunderstorm in the town left two people dead and several others injured.
Among the public institutions affected by the rainstorm were the Federal Medical Centre, State Specialist Hospital, NYSC permanent orientation camp, the State University, Police Officers mess and the Taraba State Property and Investment Company premises. The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the Specialist Hospital, Dr. Dashe Dasogot told newsmen that five corpses were brought to the morgue of the hospital after the rainstorm.
Conducting journalists round the affected parts of the hospital, Dasogot stated that two among the injured were in critical condition at the accident and emergency section of the hospital.
He further disclosed that four of the victims were killed by a mast belonging to a leading telecommunications company, which fell opposite the gate of the hospital, while the fifth victim was brought in from the town.
Narrating her ordeal to newsmen, Mrs. Henriata Anthony, a restaurant operator who narrowly escaped death told newsmen that three persons among those killed by the fallen mast, namely Aisha Useni, Felicia Istifanus and Istiah James, were her cousins working with her in the restaurant.
According to her â€œThey finished cooking and were already selling food to customers around 6:00am when the rainstorm forced the mast behind the restaurant to fall on them. Three of them including a customer, a driver to the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr. Emmanuel Gowon who came to buy food died instantly.â€
At the St. Thomas Aquinas Chaplaincy situated within the State University, Rev. Fr. Jaffla and seven university students who were observing the morning Mass narrowly escaped death when the temporary building of the church caved in on them.
The cleric, who sustained a head injury, was treated at the Federal Medical Centre Jalingo along with the other victims but he was later discharged after being stabilised by the medical team.
At the NYSC camp, eight Corps members sustained serious injuries at their hostel and the lecture hall was badly damaged by the rainstorm, while one of the business operators at the camp market was critically injured by a tree that fell around the market.
The Secretary to the State Government, Anthony Jellason, who visited the camp, appealed to the restive Corp members to remain calm Just as he assured them that the state government would do everything possible to ameliorate their plight.