Hammed Shittu writes on how rainstorms wreaked havoc in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital
The commencement of rainy season every year in the life of any community is always heralded with joy, hopes and aspirations that the year would be of a tremendous benefit to the socio well-being of that community. This belief however at times make many communities to mark the beginning of such season with enthusiasm that a new lease of life would come to their doorsteps in view of various programmes especially agricultural outing that would herald the beginning of the new rainy season in the New Year.
But, this belief however was turned sour recently when the people of the ancient town of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital burst into tears and sorrow following the down pour that accompanied rainstorms which blew off their houses and damaged several property worth several millions of naira.
The residents who had gone out in the morning in search of the golden fleece on that fateful day but after returning home late in the evening of that fateful day met their houses blown off by the rainstorms as all their rooms and apartments were soaked with uncontrollable water. Clothes, household utensils among others were swept away by the water.
The effect of the rainfall which lasted for almost one and half hours on that fateful day has also made many of the residents of the community homeless as many are now residing with friends, relatives and even in mosques and churches due to the rainstorms that had blown off their houses.
Apart from the residential buildings damaged by the rainstorms, some schools within Ilorin metropolis were also affected, especially Queen Elizabeth Secondary School where some of the school’s roofs top were blown off.
Areas badly affected by the rainstorms include, Taiwo Road, Adewole, Alore, Oloje, Ogidi, Ita- Amidu, Okolowo, Basin Road, and Sango among others.
Also, a mast erected within the premises of Zenith Bank, Unity Road also fell on the roofs of houses beside the bank, causing serious damages.
The rainstorms also damaged several buildings, including places of worship in various parts of the state capital.
The state government’s heavily mounted billboards along Upper Taiwo Road, Ilorin were also destroyed, while one of the billboards trapped a moving Mazda taxi car with the passengers sustaining injuries.
The rainstorms also blown off roofs of many residential houses located at Sultan Road, off Ibrahim Taiwo Road, while shops and electricity poles were also destroyed.
This incident has brought untold hardship to the residents of the community as the whole community is now experiencing blackout due to the damage of the electrical installations by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution company (IBEDC) supplying electricity to various parts of Ilorin.
The Regional Communication Officer of IBEDC, Mr. Asaju Kolawole in a chat with journalists in Ilorin on the ugly development, said that the rainstorms also damaged over 20 electricity poles.
According to him, “The rainstorms crashed the network of Baaboko which supplies power to larger part of llorin.”
The Communication Officer, who did not specify when electricity would be restored, said that the company’s engineers were working day and night to restore power supply to the affected areas.
Kolawole, while describing the incident as unfortunate, appealed to residents of llorin to exercise patience.
Also, some of the residents whose houses were blown off by the rainstorm told journalists that, their last hope remain on government and other well-meaning Nigerians that can assist them on their plights.
Alhaji Isola Bello said that, “I don’t know where I will get money now to roof the blown off house.”
He added: “I want to tell you that, this house was built 25 years ago now and the rainstorm has blown off the house and with the present economic situation in the country, I don’t know where the money would come from.”
Bello who looked dejected however appealed to well to do Nigerians and the government at any level to assist so as to return life to his family.
In her save our soul message, Mrs. Zenabu Iyanda said that, “In fact, I don’t know where to start now because I am finished and frustrated with this blown off of my house.”
She said, “My husband died almost seven years ago now and I am the one responsible for the upkeep of five children and now the house that we are living is also blown off by the rainstorm.”
Iyanda, however, called on the well to do Nigerians and the government at any level to rise to her needs so as to bring new lease of life to the family.
The senator representing Kwara Central senatorial district at the National Assembly and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has appealed to the federal government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to come to the aid of the victims of the rainstorm incident so as to return life to them.
The Director General, Abubakar Bukola Saraki constituency office, Ilorin, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi who spoke with journalists during the assessment tour of the various places affected by the rainstorm in Ilorin metropolis said that, the rising up of the government would cushion the effect of the incident in view of the damage that had been done to the property and buildings of the victims.
Saraki who expressed his sympathy to the victims also said that, he would continue to be his brother’s keeper describing the incident as unfortunate one and would not relent in its efforts at adding values to their socio well being irrespective of their political affiliations in the state.
Saraki who called on the victims to see the incident as an act of God said that, he would do everything possible to support them so as to return their life.
In its reaction, the state government has sympathised with the victims saying that, “it is an unfortunate incident that came sudden at this point of the nation’s economic situation.
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed in a statement issued in Ilorin on the ugly development however assured residents of Ilorin, affected by heavy rain of government’s support.
The governor in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede described the destructing of buildings as unfortunate. Governor Ahmed who sympathised with the victims of the rainstorm, said government has commenced disaster assessment and evaluation of the damage done to determine the extent of assistance required.
According to the statement, the assessment was done by the Office of Emergency Management and Relief Services, in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, led by its secretary, Mrs. Adaran Motunrayo.
Ahmed also called on residents to refrain from indiscriminate dumping of refuse and erection of structures on waterways, which he noted is capable of causing natural disasters, especially flooding.
Places visited by the Emergency Office are; Unity, Taiwo Isale, Taiwo Oke, Oko-Erin, Sultan Road, Stadium Road. Others are Adeta area, Agbo Oba, Mubo street, Harmony Estate, Sango, River Basin and Fate area.
By and large, with this ugly incident that happened, the victims of the incident are now waiting for the government assistance as promised so as to bring new life to them. It is also imperative for the National Emergency Management Agency and other relevant agencies saddled with the management of the disaster of all sorts to complement the state government’s efforts on this incident as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the rainstorm in the state.