Flood: How Osogbo residents lost loved ones, properties to indiscipline, govt’s negligence
Residents of Osogbo, the Osun State, are yet to recover from the deaths, destructions and losses that the flood disaster that ravaged most parts of the city on August 3, this year, brought upon them. While some were mourning their loved ones who reportedly lost their lives to the flood, others have been counting their losses to the tragic incident.
Damaged household items such as mattresses, fridges, electronic gadgets, clothes and rugs, among others, still littered the Oke-Baale, Awosuru, Alekuwodo, Obate, Onireke, Sasa, Igbo-Amu and Itaolookan areas of the capital city four days after the flood. Two residents were said to have lost their lives to the flood.
Some affected roads have almost become impassable for road users while most traders whose shops were washed away were yet to resume businesses. Some residents who had been sacked from their homes were yet to fully return to their normal lives, as most of their soaked property were yet to dry.
Meanwhile, the state government and affected residents have been trading blames over the flood disaster. All the victims, who spoke with The Guardian, disclosed that the state government was yet to offer them any succour. It was gathered that the Osun Emergency Management Agency (OSEMA) was also yet to visit victims for possible distribution of relief materials to the displaced residents.
Victims heaped the blame on the state government for failing to dredge rivers before the rainy season, failure to construct big culvert where necessary and refusal to honour many ‘Save Our Souls’ letters written to the State Ministries of Works and Environment.
The Guardian also gathered that some residents partly contributed to the misfortune as some drop refuse inside gutters and other unauthorised places even as some landlords built their houses very close to streams and rivers.
At Oke-Baale, it was gathered that the state government had failed to heed the pleas of residents of the area for the construction of a bigger culvert in a river that passes through the community. They alleged that ever since water was channeled to the river from Ona Babaona road, the river overflows its boundary when it rains torrentially.
A landlord in the area, whose house was submerged by the flood, Mr. Moshood Babatunde, in an interview with The Guardian, said many letters had been written to the State’s Ministry of Works but nothing was done to erect a bigger culvert in the area.
While taking The Guardian round his house, Babatunde said the bridge was constructed about 40 years ago during the military government and that the small ring could no longer contain the water that flows through the river. The flood damaged Adejare’s properties and those of his tenants. Mattresses and other items were seen being sun-dried within his premises during the visit.
“Although after the flood on Tuesday, the Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Rahman Badmus, inspected the river, we are yet to get any relief from government. This is the second time I am experiencing this flood and no assistance had been rendered by OSEMA or the government,” he said.
Also, Mr. Adetunji Kabiru, a gas vendor, who also operates a football-viewing centre in Oke Baale area, recounted sad tales of how the flood destroyed his property including three flat screen televisions.
“I am yet to get any help from government. All of us that have shops in this area lost most of our property running into millions of naira. We need assistance,” he pleaded.
Mr. Musiliu Wahab, a farmer who sells animal feed at Itaolokan area, said: “It affected us so much. All my goods and others at this our shopping complex were washed away by the flood. We beg the government to help us expand the waterways at Ita-Olokan; this is not the first time we are experiencing this but this is huge. They used to clear the waterways during rainy season but nothing has been done this year. The flood washed away a car in my area. We have lost nothing less than N100 million. We are begging government to help us financially because most traders got loans to run their businesses.”
Alhaji Abdluahim Sefiu, a saw miller around Ilesa garage, beside Imeko River, explained that the flood washed away his planks few hours after he stocked his store. He added that some residents carted away most of the displaced planks.
At Sasa area of Osogbo, over 200 birds owned by a poultry farmer were lost, while the flood also carted away fishes from a pond in that area.
Recounting his ordeal, the pastor of a Church at Igbo-Amu community in Osogbo, Rev. Wole Idowu, said his church was submerged by the flood while other residential buildings and shops in the area were also affected. He accused a mall close to the community, Justrite, of causing erosion in the community whenever it rains. He added that the state government had ignored the alarm residents of the area had raised before the rainy season commenced.
“When we learnt that there was going to be heavy rainfall this year, we quickly wrote a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation in May to come to our aid. We also wrote to the headquarters of Justrite in Lagos when the problem started last year. Due to the erosion that was coming out from the mall when it rains, the steam in Ibu-Amo community overflows it boundary and it floods our homes,” he said.
The state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, had during his on the spot assessment last Wednesday, warned residents against dumping refuse on water ways and erecting structures close to the river. He declared that flood respects nobody, adding the perimeter fence of the State Government House at GRA, Osogbo, also collapsed as a result of the flooding.
A retired Director of Flood Control at the Ministry of Environment, Osun State, Depo Alani, blamed the state government and residents for the flood disaster. He said government failed to dredge rivers, expand water channel and create concrete embankment for free flow of water.
He described the incident as a flash flood and stressed the need for the state government to have a standard master plan for flood control and also alert residents whenever it was going to rain heavily.
Alani also urged residents to desist from building houses and dumping refuse on waterways.
A retired meteorologist, Mr. John Oyenziri, warned residents that there would be more rainfall and possible floods.
“In the next three months, there could be more rainfall and flood. The ground is tired of absorbing rain water and so, prevention is better than cure,” he said.
Speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Mr. Rufus Oyegbile, said some rivers were dredged almost a year ago including Oke-Ijetu stream where he paid on the spot assessment of the damages the flood caused.
He said some commercial motorcycle riders dared the flood and were washed away. He promised that the state government would commence dredging of rivers in the last days of August.
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