Last week, rainstorm unleashed its fury on some communities in Ondo State, destroying over 500 buildings and rendering many residents homeless. Worst hit are the people of Ikare Akoko, Supare Akoko and Ugbe Akoko in the Akoko North-East and the South-West Local Government Areas of the state. Some of the traumatised residents spoke with PETER DADA
Over 200 houses were affected in our community – Monarch
Tell us about yourself.
I am the Olu-Supare of Supare in Akokoland, Oba Adejoro Adedeji. I am the traditional ruler of this ancient town.
When did you ascend the throne?
I ascended the throne about 24 years ago
How would you describe the recent rainstorm in the community?
It was a sad development. Such an incident has never happened in this community since I ascended the throne of my forefathers. It is serious and I don’t really know why it happened. It has rendered many of my subjects homeless; you can see them when you go round the town. In fact, it has devastated this town. What surprises me most is that it did not rain at Oba Akoko, Eti-Oro and Akungba Akoko towns that we share boundaries with.
How did it happen?
I was not around on that day; I went to a meeting of 130 Crown Club at Iju-Odo town (in Okitipupa LGA). In the evening, my people called me several times to inform me about the incident. It was then I knew something serious had befallen my town; so, I had to rush back home. When I got home, I moved round to see the level of the destruction.
What is the level of damage?
As I said earlier, it was disastrous seeing my people having their property destroyed, some of them have not been able to sleep in their houses since then. Over 80 houses were badly affected while about 120 buildings were slightly torched. You can see many schools, electric poles, and other valuables that were damaged. Even our divisional police headquarters’ building had its roofs blown off by the rainstorm. It is a serious matter.
Did the incident record any death?
No, we don’t have any. Nobody died. In fact, that is why we have been thanking God because if death had been recorded, it would have been another terrible story. We thank God it did not happen.
What is the loss in monetary terms?
I cannot really say the specific amount but I am quite sure that property worth millions of naira must have been lost in the incident. You can imagine where we have over 80 houses seriously damaged with many household items inside them. You can see that it is going to be a heavy loss. So if we are to cost the effect of the damages, it will amount to several millions of naira.
What step is the community going take on the issue?
We are already taking several steps. We have written to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for assistance and members of the National Assembly from this area. Some of them have sent teams to inspect the affected houses in the community. The deputy governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, too has visited to inspect the level of damage and hopefully, we believe the state government and all those we have written to will do something. I will also use this opportunity to appeal to the National Emergency Management Agency and other intervention agencies to come to our aid.
I thought the world was about to end — Taofeek
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Tamiyu Taofeek, an indigene of Supare Akoko. I am 29 years old. I am married with two kids.
How did the incident happen?
The rainstorm happened last Thursday. When it started, it was like the whole world wanted to end with the way it shook the building. Before we knew what was happening, it had started blowing off building roofs. We made efforts not to allow the rain to enter but we were not successful.
What is the extent of damage?
It destroyed our houses, shops, chairs, refrigerators and some other valuable items.
Can you quantify the loss in monetary terms?
It will cost over N1.5m to get those things destroyed back, including the part of the building. We are begging the government to assist us in any capacity it can.
Where are you staying at the moment?
My family and I currently stay somewhere in the town in a friend’s house. We are only managing it for now because of the situation. The truth is that the place is not convenient for us.
I need help to restart my business —Physically-challenged cloth designer
Can you identify yourself?
My name is Balogun Murtala.
What do you do for a living?
I am a cloth designer in this town.
In what ways did the rainstorm affect you?
The last week rainstorm storm blew off the roof of my house and shop to the extent that the rain entered and spoiled my property. It has affected me and my business. As you can see, I am physically-challenged; since that day, I could not do any work. As I told you earlier, I am a cloth designer and my machines have been damaged by the rain. The cloths given to me by customers were also spoilt by the rain.
How have you been coping since then?
It has been tough since the incident happened; I cannot work, I can’t do anything and I don’t have any money to repair the damaged house. I have to relocate members of my family to a friend’s house where we are staying pending the time we will have money to repair our house. That is why we are appealing to the government to assist us in this situation. I have no other means of livelihood.
We are now homeless — Felicia Famuwagun
How old are you?
I am 80 years old.
Where were you when the incident happened?
I was in the house with my people when the rain started.
How were you affected by the rainstorm?
I was very much affected. It destroyed the house built by my husband some years ago. The rainstorm blew off its roof and the rain entered the house through the ceiling.
The rain destroyed almost all our property. As the rain entered the rooms, we tried to pack some of our things but many were destroyed.
Have you repaired the building now?
No. The reason is that we have no money to do it. What was destroyed in the house was too much for us to do. That is why we are calling on the government for assistance. We are peasant farmers in this town; we don’t have money. We are appealing to well-meaning people of this land as well as the government to assist us. I don’t have anything again.
Where have you been staying since you have not repaired the house?
The rainstorm destroyed everything in my house. We don’t have anywhere to sleep now. We are only managing in our neighbours’ house, which is not convenient for us.
For how long do you intend to stay in the neighbour’s house?
I don’t know for now but as soon as we get our house repaired, we will go back home.
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