How floods con­sumed 30 in Gwag­wal­ada, Suleja

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - By Abubakar Sadiq Isah, Adam Umar & Chid­inma C. Okeke

Last week­end’s floods in Zuba, Gwag­wal­ada Area Coun­cil of the FCT and Suleja in Niger State left many residents wrig­gling in pain and lamen­ta­tion.

While the Zuba flood claimed a woman and her four chil­dren in Giri com­mu­nity,

Daily Trust Satur­day gath­ered that the death toll in Suleja has risen to 24.

Re­la­tions and neigh­bours of the vic­tims who spoke to re­porter in Zuba ex­pressed shock and sad­ness. They said the woman, whose apart­ment was close to the wa­ter­ways died with her four chil­dren af­ter the heavy flood sub­merged the apart­ment and other houses.

They said be­fore res­cue could come, the flood had al­ready swept them away.

A neigh­bor, Mrs. Grace Uche, said the de­ceased who had lived in the apart­ment for over year af­ter sep­a­rat­ing from her hus­band, was al­ways jovial with neigh­bors.

“I didn’t know that the woman had sep­a­rated from her hus­band un­til that day the in­ci­dent hap­pened, af­ter which the Ebira chief came to the scene and I over­heard some of her kins­men dis­cussing it,” she said.

Neigh­bors of the other two per­sons who died in An­guwar Paka Zuba said they were sleep­ing when the flood sud­denly sub­merged the house and swept them away.

A neigh­bor, Ibrahim Aliyu, said the par­ents of the chil­dren had trav­eled to the eastern part of the coun­try be­fore the in­ci­dent.

The vil­lage head of Kaura Quar­ters, Mr. Bako Ndazhaga, said con­trary to re­ports that 30 peo­ple were miss­ing, four peo­ple were miss­ing while one death was of­fi­cially recorded there. He said those miss­ing and the dead were from the same fam­ily.

Bako said one per­son was found dead while the other four in­clud­ing a woman and her three chil­dren were miss­ing while ex­press­ing fears on their sur­vival.

An­other res­i­dent of the area, Mr. Si­mon Baba, said the rain forced res­i­dent to stay in­doors, and the flood sub­merged the Gwag­wal­ada Bridge and a ho­tel and de­stroyed prop­er­ties.

An­other res­i­dent, Ibrahim Shaibu, said the flood which started around 2am on Satur­day took over a petrol sta­tion and swept away a truck loaded with petrol.

Daily trust Satur­day gath­ered that it also pulled down other build­ings in­clud­ing a petrol sta­tion in An­guwar Abat­toir.

The vil­lage head of Da­giri, an­other af­fected area, Al­haji Saidu Muham­mad Ndako, said many houses close to the river bank were de­stroyed.

The chair­man of the coun­cil, Al­haji Adamu Mustapha, who vis­ited some of the af­fected ar­eas, urged com­mu­nity lead­ers to make ar­range­ments to get peo­ple out of flood-prone ar­eas.

“We at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level will do our best to pro­vide ur­gent pal­lia­tives be­cause the in­ci­dent has created havoc,” he said.

Min­is­ter or­ders re­moval of houses on wa­ter­ways

Re­act­ing to the in­ci­dent, the Min­is­ter of State for FCT, Ha­jiya Ra­matu Ti­j­jani Aliyu, or­dered the man­age­ment of the FCT De­vel­op­ment Con­trol de­part­ment to re­move houses on wa­ter­ways across the coun­cil.

Speak­ing when she vis­ited some of the af­fected ar­eas on Wed­nes­day, she said the flood was as a re­sult of build­ing houses on wa­ter­ways.

She do­nated re­lief items to the chair­man of the coun­cil, Al­haji Adamu Mustapha, for dis­tri­bu­tion to the vic­tims.

The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA), Al­haji Idriss Ab­bas, said: “Gwag­wal­ada was flooded from Giri. A fam­ily of five was af­fected at Giri.

“We res­cued six peo­ple and they are in hos­pi­tal. The flood has dam­aged a lot of houses and prop­erty, es­pe­cially at Gwag­wal­ada,” he said.

Vic­tims at the mercy of rel­a­tives, neig­bours in Suleja

Peo­ple af­fected by the flood in Suleja have turned to rel­a­tives and neigh­bours for tem­po­ral shel­ter, just as the death toll is re­ported to have reached 24, ac­cord­ing to our re­porter.

It was gath­ered that 10 peo­ple are yet to be found af­ter the heavy flood swept the area Satur­day fol­low­ing an early morn­ing rain­fall.

The vil­lage head of Rafin-Sanyi, Malam Zakari Madaki who ac­knowl­edged the visit of some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to the area af­ter the in­ci­dent, put the to­tal ca­su­alty fig­ure within the area, and that of Un­guwar-Gwari where he su­per­vised as Wak­ili, to 22.

Un­guwar Gwari, a com­mu­nity un­der Rafin-Sanyi Dis­trict on the out­skirts of the town was re­ported to be worst hit, with the loss of seven per­sons, in­clud­ing five from a sin­gle fam­ily.

At Rafin-Sanyi com­mu­nity, 10 peo­ple were re­ported to have died. Our re­porter on Thurs­day went round Un­guwar Sun­day, Polosa and Unity wards, all within RafinSanyi com­mu­nity

A res­i­dent, Sun­day Nna­mani, said he was sleep­ing when his at­ten­tion was drawn to screams from his neigh­bor’s apart­ment.

“The next thing I saw was my phone rolling in the wa­ter, so I im­me­di­ately got out of my room which I dis­cov­ered was flooded all over, and I don’t know how I es­caped,” he said.

A shocked Nna­mani added that it was there­after that he un­der­stood that the in­ci­dent took lives of his neig­bour, a preg­nant woman and two chil­dren within the com­pound. He said he is now squat­ting in a nearby house as he doesn’t have any­where to go or money to look for an­other place.

An­other woman close to the house iden­ti­fied as Mai-Kifi, was also said to have died along with two of her daugh­ters. At Im­mac­u­late Street just across the stream, an­other woman pop­u­larly known as “Cal­abar” died with her two chil­dren and an­other boy who lived with his par­ents in the com­pound.

An­other per­son died around Poloso area of Rafin-Sanyi, bring­ing the num­ber of deaths in the area alone to 10.

Many residents faulted the claim that their com­pounds were marked, main­tain­ing that they were only sud­denly told that the houses would be pulled down af­ter the flood dis­as­ter in 2017.

The vil­lage head of Rafin-Sanyi, Malam Zakari Madaki who ac­knowl­edged the visit of some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to the area af­ter the in­ci­dent, put the to­tal ca­su­alty fig­ure within the area, and that of Un­guwarGwari where he su­per­vised as Wak­ili, to 22.

Daily Trust on Satur­day gath­ered that two other chil­dren died around Liv­ing Faith Church in Madalla, a nei­bour­ing com­mu­nity, just as a woman’s body was seen float­ing in river around Chaza com­mu­nity, all within Suleja Area Coun­cil.

Man who lost wife, 4 kids grate­ful for em­pa­thy

The man who lost four chil­dren and his preg­nant wife, Mr. Obioma Thank God, ex­pressed grat­i­tude over vis­its from dig­ni­taries that in­cluded the state gov­er­nor, Abubakar Sani Bello and the Emir of Suleja, Malam Muham­mad Auwal Ibrahim.

He said apart from the con­do­lences, the gov­er­nor spoke to him at length, in­clud­ing how he got his land al­lo­ca­tion for the de­stroyed house.

“The gov­er­nor then told me he would get back to me, while di­rect­ing the chair­man to com­mu­ni­cate to me later. Same is­sue was raised by his high­ness, and af­ter I an­swered him, he said I should try to meet him at the palace. I am still hop­ing and wait­ing, be­liev­ing that some­thing pos­i­tive would come from them,” he said.

He added: “But is there any­thing pos­i­tive that can come out more than my chil­dren? I think there is noth­ing like that in this world. They were my great as­sets and trea­sure, my best friends, all my trust is to God, that is the only one who can make the im­pos­si­bil­ity to be pos­si­ble, and I handed ev­ery­thing to him.”

He said the stream that passes be­hind his house was pre­vi­ously a tiny one, but kept ex­pand­ing.

“It was a piece of wood that was used as bridge across it, to tell you the size then.”

Speak­ing on how he got the land. Obioma said he bought the al­lo­ca­tion pa­per from some­body who got the of­fer, and pro­ceeded to the area coun­cil where he got the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments af­ter ver­i­fy­ing it to be gen­uine.

“It was when all the build­ings within the old bar­racks were marked that our pri­vate build­ings were in­cluded, but not be­cause of their lo­ca­tions, as we were made to know then.

“We then ap­proached the area coun­cil with our doc­u­ments where they ac­cused the previous ad­min­is­tra­tion for al­lo­cat­ing lands at the wrong places. But all along they se­cured us af­ter a kind of un­der­stand­ing, and went ahead to de­mol­ish all build­ings within the bar­racks. So it’s not right to come out now to blame us,” he added.

But while Obioma was lucky to get vis­i­ta­tion from prom­i­nent per­sons, oth­ers in­clud­ing a woman who lost her two chil­dren are yet to be that lucky.

Our re­porter who also vis­ited the area heard that as a re­sult, the names of the af­fected peo­ple are yet to be cap­tured as claimed, as ac­cord­ing to them, no gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial has so far vis­ited them. A neig­bour of the woman there, who lost two chil­dren, Christo­pher Acham, said a woman known as Majesty lost one of her chil­dren af­ter a wall fell on him.

“Two oth­ers were pulled by the flood, one died and the third one was res­cued,” he said.

He said while the mother of the two de­ceased chil­dren re­lo­cated to her sis­ter’s home in Gau­raka town along the Abu­jaKaduna high way, her hus­band re­lo­cated to his brother’s house in Madalla. He said no gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial vis­ited them for any doc­u­men­ta­tion, let alone do­nat­ing any re­lief ma­te­rial to them. Same story was given by an­other vic­tim of the flood, Wil­son Wil­liams, along with other vic­tims.

Mean­while, the Nige­rian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency (NiMet) re­cently re­leased the 2020 Sea­sonal Rain­fall Pre­dic­tion (SRP) re­port, where it stated that Nige­ria was ex­pected to have rain­falls, rang­ing from 400mm in the North to over 3000mm in the South.

It pre­dicted a to­tal of 28 states for “highly prob­a­ble flood risk” and that the flood­ing could af­fect a to­tal of 102 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas across the 28 states while an­other 275 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas are cat­e­gorised as “mod­er­ately prob­a­ble flood risk”.

The states, pre­dicted to ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere floods in­clude Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Kogi, Enugu and Anam­bra.

Oth­ers are Imo, Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Ek­iti, Osun, Kwara, Zam­fara, Sokoto, La­gos, Ondo, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun, Abia, Kano, Kebbi and the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT).

How­ever, tor­ren­tial rain­falls in the last few weeks have led to se­ri­ous floods in many states, such as La­gos, Delta, Niger and the FCT, with con­se­quent loss of lives and prop­er­ties, while many peo­ple were re­port­edly dis­placed.

A col­lapsed house near the river bank in Da­giri, Gwag­wal­ada Area Coun­cil of the FCT

The vil­lage head of Rafin-Sanyi, Malam Zakari Madaki

Mr. Wil­son Wil­liams stands where his build­ing was cut by the flood

Build­ing de­stroyed by the flood

Mr. Ibioma Thank God, the man who lost four chil­dren and preg­nant wife

This woman lost her room house to the flood and now squats with a neigh­bour.

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