Alaaka: Community in search of relief weeks after rainstorm

Rainfall meant to be a blessing has caused pains for a community in Oyo state who unfortunately appear to have been neglected by the government a month after the havoc. AGBOOLA BAYO reports.

For residents of Alaaka community, Araromi village, Igbonna, Apete, Wajawaja, Ologuneru, Alapata, Olose, Oloman, Arijo, Awotan, Alapata, Ile-Titun in Ido local government area of Oyo state, the sad memories of  Thursday March 18 rainstorm will continue to linger in their minds even though it is over a month now. This is because weeks after the sad incident, help is yet to come their way.

Although the rainstorm that occurred that day lasted for less than 30 minutes, the havoc it wrecked in the area, according to report is too much to bear by the residents.

As at the last count, investigation by Blueprint indicates that over

50 houses, shops and other structures were destroyed while no fewer than 15 concrete and wooden poles were destroyed or totally damaged thereby cutting off the entire area from electricity main source of power supply.

Like the usual early rains recorded in the past few days, just before this last disastrous one, this one came with little or no signal of danger until about 10 minutes into the downpour when it turned to a heavy rainstorm. In the process, it blew off every standing objects on its way. Blueprint learnt that this continued for about 15 minutes.

In almost all the affected areas, roofs of houses were either blown off completely or removed half way. In other instances, structures including shops were destroyed by the torrential downpour-turned rainstorm which started at exactly 6.00pm and lasted till  6.30 pm the same day.

Victims narrate their ordeals

According to one of the victims of the rainstorm and a landlord at Alaaka community who goes by the name Musliudeen Ajadi Alimi, the storm caught most of the residents of the area unaware as, he said, no one envisaged the heavy downpour to be so destructive as it turned out to be that day.

Ajadi, who in a chat with Blueprint, said he just completed and moved into his house last year, had his new house totally destroyed with the roof blown off by the heavy wind which accompanied the rainstorm, thereby leaving him and his wife exposed before the building collapsed. He is therefore soliciting the timely assistance of  both Oyo state and federal governments as well as the intervention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on the havoc wrecked on him  and other victims of the storm.

He said, “I don’t know where to start from. The whole roof was removed. It destroyed the whole building after the roof was removed; nothing is left. I am appealing to well-spirited Nigerians, Oyo state government and the federal government to come to my aid.”

Another victim, Mrs Funke Emmanuel, on her part, minced no words in declaring that the only option left for her and her husband is to be  sleeping in their shop. According to her,  “The rainstorm and its sad effects are heavy to bear by them. I was inside the house with my children. First, the storm came three times and removed the whole roof the forth time it came. I thank God that no life was lost. I am only appealing to the government of Oyo state to come to our rescue.”

A landlord affected by the storm at Ologuneru whose shop was also destroyed said he almost lost his life through electrocution in the shop during the rainstorm.

Also narrating his experience, another resident of Arijo community, Mr Kamilu Adesina, said during the rainstorm, most of the houses in Arijo, Wajawaja, Olomo, Ogunde and Olose were seriously affected with about two concrete poles and more than five wooden poles  destroyed during the downpour that lasted less than 30 minutes.

He said, “Our area at Arijo, Wajawaja up to Olose and Oloman, I can’t say the number of houses that were destroyed.

“When I was coming, I saw two concrete poles and many wooden poles that were pulled down. In fact, I don’t know when we will have electricity in those areas again. It affected many houses in Oloman, Olose. The rainstorm blew off a two-bedroom flat of one woman I know in Olose community,” he said.

The chairman of Alaaka Estate Landlord Association, Mr Tunde Odeyale, in his comment declared that at least about 15 houses were destroyed in his area,

and that the people of his community were calling on the  government to come to their rescue.

“The rainstorm affected many houses in Alaaka community. It destroyed many houses and property worth millions of naira. About 15 houses were destroyed. It has rendered many people homeless now. They are now looking for places to sleep and we are incapacitated. Among those whose houses were destroyed included Mr Ajadi, Mrs Emmanuel, Iya Zainab, Mrs Bose Aliu, Mr Ayuba and others. We are now urging our government and those who can support us in this community to come to our aid.”

No help in sight

However, the chairman of Ido local government area, Mr Wahab Oladejo, as at the time of writing this report, said he was yet to be officially informed about the incident but said there was nothing the local government can do except the state government.

“I am not aware because my people in those areas are yet to call me. Even at that, I don’t want to promise that the local government will help them out. It is the state government that can help. Just write what you see and don’t let anybody push you. Write any report you want to write and don’t let anybody push you. If we see it and the local government is in position to help, we will but don’t promise anybody that the local government can help. This is because as at now, the capacity of the local government is not enough to take care them. I know that it is the state government that is in position to help them.”

In his own reaction, the secretary of Oyo State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Akin Makinde, said the agency would take the necessary action when furnished with details of the damage in the affected areas.

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