5 fear dead in Abeokuta flooding

Flood in Abeokuta

At least five persons were feared dead while property worth several millions of naira were destroyed on Friday night, as flood ravaged parts of Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, wreaked havoc.

The rainfall, which occurred between 4.30 p.m. and 9.25 p.m, caused drainage channels in the ancient town to overflow resulting in loss of lives and sweeping away of many vehicles.

Areas mostly hit by the flooding were Lafenwa, Kuto, Oke Lantoro, Amolaso, Totoro, Kobiti and Ijaye.

In the early hours of Saturday, residents in the affected areas were seen salvaging their personal effects from their homes while some were seen packing out of the affected areas.

A food vendor, Halirat Akintobi, and her two children were among the victims washed away by the thunderous flood as her container shop was swept away by the flood around Kobiti Central Mosque area of the town.

An eyewitness said that the food vendor, Akintobi and her two sons, were hiding inside the container when the rain started.

The corpses of the two children were also reportedly recovered from Sokori River in Amolaso area of Abeokuta.

Somuyiwa Bisola, a shop owner in the area narrated her ordeal, saying the flood destroyed her shop and swept away her goods worth N5 million.

Bisola explained that her warehouse, which was stocked with a trailer load of soft drinks on Wednesday, was also pulled down by the flood.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Mr Joseph Obalanlege, who was on an assessment tour of the affected areas, described the development as “highly devastating”.

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He added that the corpses of the persons killed by the flood had been deposited at the morgue of the State Hospital, Ijaye.

The State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, who could not ascertain the number of deaths, said the police had joined other disaster management agencies in ameliorating the situation.

The Assistant Chief Planning Officer, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Southwest Zone, Babatunde Olowookere, said that the agency was working out plans to assist those affected by the flood.

He said that the situation was aggravated by those building structures on water channels and dumping of refuse in drains.

Mr Bolaji Oyeleye, the state Commissioner for Environment, attributed the development to indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents into drains and waterways.

Oyeleye said that the state government had earlier embarked on dredging of rivers, canals and clearing of drains in the state.

He urged residents of the state to inculcate the habit of disposing of their refuse properly and desist from dumping refuse indiscriminately.

The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had in its forecast earlier in the year, listed Ogun as one of the states that would experience downpour.

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