The torrential down pour of close to 10 hours in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Friday evening brought back the memory of the Ogunpa flood disaster of 1980, as it left a tale of woes on the residents of virtually every part of the city, with most parts submerged in flood leaving many dead, while houses and vehicles were washed away by flood.
At the end of the early yesterday morning, about 30 people were feared dead, 5000 rendered homeless and close to 100 people declared missing In Apete, a community of over 20,000 people located in Ido local government area of the state and populated by students of the polytechnic, Ibadan, no fewer than five people were swept off by the torrential rainfall which led to the collapse of the bridge linking the community with the other parts of the state.
Over twenty people have also been declared missing by their loved ones who did not see their wives or husbands return home due to the heavy down poor. Also for the inhabitants of Omi-Adio in the same Ido local government area, where the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, hailed from, the devastating impact of the rain led to several houses with property worth several millions of naira swept away by the heavy flood accompanied the down pour.
The Magistrate Court located at the heart of the town was not spared as the surrounding was covered by the rising water level which also destroyed some vital documents in the building . Similarly, fish and poultry farmers had tales of woes to tell as many farmlands were affected by the flood . Some fish especially matured and fingerlings were carried away to the main roads from the ponds , while many birds were killed by the rain. The popular Omi-Adio market in the town which served many cities with agricultural products suffered damage when the entire market was swept away, leaving owners to count their loses .
“I could not retrieve anything from my shop .All my wares have been swept off .This is disturbing , it happened the other time but I never knew it will be as much as this. Oh! Where do I start from, please God help me…” a woman who simply identified herself as Iya Sodik , that sells food stuffs lamented. The rain kept many motorists away from the roads with the Ibadan –Abeokuta expressway rendered impassable .
There was heavy flooding on the expressway which was covered with a lot of garbage from the gutters and surrounding buildings. Many water channels were over-flooded , even the Odo-Ona Apata bridge was filled to the brim , threatening the very foundation of the aged bridge . At an estate opposite former railway workers’ quarters , Omi-Adio, many residential buildings were submerged by the flood. In virtually every part of the city, scores of people were displaced , while many were still scooping water from their various homes . A lot of house hold items like mattresses, pillows , clothes and other wares were kept outside yesterday to dry in the sun.
In Oluyole area of the city, most of the residents could not venture out yesterday as the only road that linked the area with the other parts of the city was flooded, causing a lot of traffic jam, while it was the same situation at the Seven-Up side of the area with a river in the area overflowing its boundary cutting off most of the companies in the area such as Procter and gamble and Seven-Up Bottling Company. At Kajola, about eight other people also lost their lives in the flood which ravaged the community, while houses and shops were submerged by the flood.
At Quality area also in Bodija , an elderly woman died in the flood and her corpse taken to Carpenter bus stop along UI-Agbowo Express road by her relations. The corpse was supposed to be buried beside the river but her son refused arguing that since her mother did not go to the river to bath, there is no need for her to be buried beside the river. Also in the same area,a hair dresser was said to have lost one of her three children to flood. It was learnt that suddenly the water pushed her and the girl at her back was forcefully removed and taken away.
As the time of filing this report the woman is receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the area. At Adoye, Street, also in Agbowo, the situation was terrible as seven children from the same house died in the flood. Two of the children were said to be from the same parents. Similarly , a final year student of the University of Ibadan was said to have come home to retrieve a particular document when she decided to relax before the rain started. When she woke up, there was no escape route for her and she consequently died.
Another woman was said to be trying to escape with her two children, one at the back and she held the other firmly but unfortunately, the water forcefully took the one in her hand away. Trouble started on Friday evening when rain that started in a mild form aggravated with whirl wind accompanied by thunderstorms blowing off roof tops, shops, PHCN polls leading to power cut in virtually all parts of the city. As the rain continued to pour, most of the roads were filled with water and all adjourning draining channels headed to empty into the main river.
In Apete, the unspeakable then happened when those returning from work around 8:30-9:pm were unable to access their way into the community due to overflown river content which made it difficult to navigate on foot. Those who dared it however had themselves to be blamed as they were unaware that the bridge, which was said to have been constructed in the old western region by the late sage Obafemi Awolowo caved in trapping most people on it. Five women were said to have been swept off while one who was lucky was recued. Help was far away as most people stayed in-door due to the striking thunderstorm and heavy shower.
A year old boy was however lucky to have been rescued. Governor Abiola Ajimobi, yesterday however procured the services of an helicopter for the rescue of citizens and distribution of relief materials to all victims of the flooding havoc which swept round some key places in the state capital on Saturday. In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communication, Dr. Festus Adedayo, the government also enlisted the support of the GOC 2nd Mechanised Division, Major General Mubarak, for the provision of bailey bridges over the two rivers whose bridges were swept off at Apete and Olomi areas.
He said the governor, who ordered the immediate procurement of the helicopter for an immediate rapid assessment of the affected areas and rescue of trapped victims of the flood, also ordered immediate setting up of two camps at the Apete and Odo Ona areas of the state capital for immediate palliative measures towards the flooding.
Senator Ajimobi also ordered immediate procurement of blankets, mattresses, drugs and food to all affected areas, so as to ensure that the suffering encountered by the people were brought to the barest minimum. Meanwhile, wife of the state governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi has urged residents of Ibadan metropolis and Oyo State in general to remain calm as the state government has taken urgent steps to tackle the flood disaster that ravaged the city as a result of the massive rainfall.
She made the call during the inspection of flooded areas yesterday that the government would set in motion palliative measures to ameliorate the sufferings of the affected people. According to her, “the present administration led by Governor Abiola Ajimobi is people oriented and sensitive to their welfare. No stone will be left unturned to ensure that lives and properties are protected while relief materials and proper medical care will be made available to the affected people”.
Mrs. Ajimobi commiserated with the victims of the flood praying that God would give the families of those affected the fortitude to bear the loss. She visited Apete Bridge behind The Polytechnic Ibadan which was totally cut off, Babalegba area along Sango Eleyele road, Challenge/Orita/Odo-Ona road where some trapped people were being rescued by volunteers and security personnel put together by the Caretaker Chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Prince Ayodeji Abass, the 7up-oluyole road that was submerged by flood around SUMAL factory and other areas. The wife of the governor gave immediate directives and made phone calls to request for trucks, canoes and a helicopter to ensure that those still trapped could be saved from the surging water current.