by Dare Lawal
In Ekiti state, heavy rainfall on Sunday which fell non-stop from 8pm left tragedy in its wake as three children were swept away in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
The worse-hit areas were Adebayo, Iworoko road, Dallimore, Okesa, Nova Road, Ureje, Omisanjana, Ajilosun, Peace Estate and Omirin.
For now, only the identity of one of the victims has been disclosed. He is seven-year-old boy, Olamide Ayeni, who was on an errand with his 15-year-old sister when the rain began.
According to an uncle of his, “Olamide and his 15-year-old sister, Faith, were out running an errand for their mother when the rain started. They said they waited somewhere for it to subside before heading back home.
“Faith said she held her brother’s hand as they made their way home, but Olamide missed his step and fell into the culvert.
“She ran home to report what happened and people in the vicinity tried to rescue him. We alerted the Fire Service and its officials joined in the search for him. Up till now (about 1pm yesterday), we have not found his body.”
Valuable properties were also lost to the flood.
According to a report by The Nation:
Mrs. Funmilayo Obayemi, an engine oil dealer, said: “All the cartons of oil in my shop are soaked with water. I am trying to move them to my house, but the problem is that customers will not want to buy the ones affected by the flood because they are dirty.”
Mrs. Dupe Idowu, who sells food stuff on the Adebayo-Iworoko road, said: “I am a 62-year-old widow. My husband died seven years ago and left me with seven children. Four of them are in the university. It is this shop that sustains us. Now, everything is about going. The flood has dug up the foundation of the shop. It may collapse any time.
“I urge the government to assist me. I have no one to turn to. All the food items I am selling, including rice, gari and beans, are gone. Even the yams are soaked.”
Parts of a students’ hostel, the Mount Zion Hostel, have collapsed.
The owner of the hostel, Chief Kolawole Faleye, said: “The hostel was built in 1981 and has been accommodating students consistently. Now, it is not just flooded, it has collapsed.
“Four students narrowly escaped death when the walls of their rooms fell. The flood pulled down the fence and took over the rooms, destroying the belongings of about 40 students.”
Some of the students said: “We do not know where to begin now. Our textbooks, certificates, food items and electronics are all gone.”
The General Manager of Crownbiz Hotel, Mr. Oteruku Sunday, said: “The hotel is soaked with water and many things have been destroyed. It may take months to resume business.”
The proprietor of the Hotel, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, said: “The flooding was caused by the bridge that was built by the contractors handling the Ado-Iworoko road. The bridge is too small to accommodate the volume of flood coming from the School of Nursing area. The drainage channel was also blocked at some spots, which hindered free flow of water. I urge the state government to reconstruct the bridge to the standard of the Elemi Bridge.”
Governor Kayode Fayemi inspected the flooded areas and channelisation work.
He said buildings blocking the waterways would be demolished within two weeks.
Fayemi decried the violation of town planning laws by many landlords, saying the government would sanction offenders.
He said: “A lot of the houses that have been caught in harm’s way as a result of flooding were built on flood plains and do not have development control approval. There is also the problem of enforcement on the side of the government. It is the duty of the government to enforce the law. “Even on an approved plan, there must be a setback. There must be certain metres between your house and the road. That law was not obeyed in many of the places I visited today, which include Olorunda, Nova Road, Peace Avenue in Afao road and Oke-Ila.”
Fayemi said the government would make amends by building larger drains.
He said: “We will make sure adequate room is provided for drains, so that water can flow into wider channels. We will dredge the channels and ensure that water flows properly. Anyone who has built on a waterway or in a place that will not allow water to flow seamlessly should be ready to hear from me. I have instructed the Ministry of Urban Planning and Lands to demolish those houses within two weeks.”
The governor was accompanied on the inspection by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu; Commissioner for Lands and Housing Elder Remi Olorunleke; Commissioner for Special Duties Wole Apalara-Adewunmi; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Roads Sunday Adunmo and officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).