By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
Three children comprising two girls and a boy residing at no. 16 Asutan Street Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, narrowly escaped death on Sunday following a landslide which led to the collapse of their kitchen.
It was gathered that the children Aisha Umaru (9) Fatima Umaru six (5) and Yusuf (6) had barely left the kitchen after preparing their evening meals when the incident happened.
Other residents of the area, including landlords who spoke to newsmen over the incident lamented that the erosion site had been a source of worry to them over the decades.
The Landlord of the building where the three children escaped death, identified as Mr Francis Ikpe, said it was a miracle that the children were not trapped, and noted that the community had been living with the erosion for the past 30 years.
“It was a devastating experience. I was told that the three children were preparing their meals in the kitchen and it was not up to five minutes they left the kitchen when the kitchen collapsed.
“The children said they were eating when suddenly there was a bang and the kitchen and everything inside it buried. They would have been trapped; it was a miracle.
“I am the landlord of no 16, Asutan street, the compound that is badly threatened by erosion in this area. We have lived with the erosion for more than 30 years, but the dimension was not as disastrous as it is now.
“The problem worsened when the state government decided to embark on massive streets repair and construction of drainages.
“So water from the six adjoining Streets, including the Barracks road, have been diverted to this place and no chamber was done to receive the water.
“The erosion has caused serious damage to this place. Whenever it rains the volume of water increases and this has been posing serious threats to lives and properties of the residents” he lamented.
He, therefore called on the state government to intervene before his entire building is completely swallowed by the rampaging slide.
On the relocation order by the state government, Ikpe said if the state government said if the government had made provision for their relocation that they would have moved out of the area.
“I just heard that a surveyor came here and addressed us sometimes ago. He brought a document purported to have been written by the state government in 2011, but no landlord has ever seen that document and there is an indication that the landlords acknowledged receipt of such document” Ikpe, the landlord said.
Narrating his ordeal, the father of the three children Mohammed Umaru, a car dealer and tenant, whose kitchen was swallowed, said he went out to Okoita, on Sunday when he received a call that his house has collapsed.
Umaru simply said, ” Yesterday (Sunday) I travelled to Okoita, and I received a call from my landlord that the house has collapsed. I rushed back to Uyo and what I saw when I arrived was terrible. Let the government do something to help us, I am helpless”.