Jul 18 2012
By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
Three bodies, including that of a man who was preparing for his wedding ceremony, were yesterday recovered from Dandaru stream, near Mokola, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
They were swept away during last weekend’s torrential rainfall, which flooded Ibadan and environs.
The victims include a police sergeant, Ojo Adelusi, Wole Iyiola and his cousin, Sunkanmi Iyiola.
The two cousins were said to have been swept by the flood at Tewogbade bridge in Bodija on Saturday evening.
Another Sergeant, Ijebor Sunday, and Ope Ogungbemi are still being tracked by the recovery team.
Hundreds of residents, who witnessed the recovery of the bodies from the stream, stood in awe while the action lasted.
Relatives of the victims, who witnessed the recovery of the bodies, wept profusely.
Emergency management officials had a hectic time controlling crowd and consoling sobbing relatives.
The deputy governor, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, who witnessed the recovery exercise, fought back tears.
A relative of the Iyiolas, Bunmi Kudus, said Wole, 24, who lived in Lagos, was visiting his family in Ibadan when the incident happened.
Kudus disclosed that Wole had his marriage introduction 11 days ago and was preparing for his wedding ceremony.
She said the family reported their disappearance to the police in Ikolaba the following morning and later reported at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Iyaganku, when they did not hear anything about their whereabouts.
They were on their way to a night club when their car was trapped on the bridge. The car was said to have been recovered near the bridge the following day.
The flood destroyed bridges and submerged many roads.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday commiserated with the families of the victims of the floods.
A 36-hour rain pounded the city from Friday to Sunday leading to flood in several parts of the city.
The swollen bodies of the flood victims were floating on the stream when the search operation team set up by the police sighted them.
The recovery operation was carried out by the police, the Oyo State Fire Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC).
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Olabisi Ilobanafor, who was at the scene of the operation, confirmed that the relatives reported the disappearance.
According to her, it was reported that five young men were on their way to a club around Bodija. A friend of them who wanted to join them was contacting them through telephone during which they informed him that they had changed their mind to patronise another night club at Ring Road.
Ilobanafor said: “On Sunday, a search team set to work and, on Monday, members of the team were divided into three to be able to comb the city for the victims. The team that came to this stream discovered three floating bodies. We are working with the Emergency Management Agency, the NSDC and the Fire Service. One Ope Ogungbemi and Ijebor Sunday are still missing.”
Ajimobi, who supervised the evacuation of the bodies, described the incident as unfortunate and tragic.
Represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, he reiterated his administration’s commitment to addressing the problem of flooding in the state.
The governor said the Federal Government has failed to keep its promise to assist the state government in arresting flooding.
According to him, the reconstruction of bridges, roads and culverts that were destroyed by the flood disaster of last year and that of Saturday night would cost government N20 billion.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently come to the aid of the state government.
The governor said his administration would strive to ensure that flooding was a thing of the past.
He said his administration has started the process further dredging more rivers and streams.
The senator representing Oyo South at the National Assembly, Olufemi Lanlehin, criticised the Federal Government for its alleged indifference to the plight of the residents of Ibadan.
In a statement by his media aide, Olawale Sadare, the senator said the Federal Government was unfair to Ibadan residents for failing to collaborate with the state government to tackle perennial flooding in the ancient city.
The statement reads: “The status of the Oyo State capital as the largest city in the whole of Subsaharan Africa coupled with its population density should be enough to elicit seriousness on the part of the Jonathan administration regarding the desired funding of some special ecological projects expected to fix the problems of flooding in Ibadan.
“President Goodluck Jonathan paid an on-the-spot assessment visit last year when scores of our people got killed and properties estimated at several millions of naira were lost to a flood disaster and he made some promises but since then nothing has come from the Federal Government to nip the problem in the bud at least to prevent a recurrence.
“Inasmuch as our people are not prepared for any condolence visits again on account of preventable disasters, we urge the President to mobilise officials of the Ministries of Environment, Health, Works among other relevant agencies to Ibadan with a view to assessing the situation and carrying out necessary action capable of ameliorating the suffering of the people.”
The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation sympathised with the victims of the last weekend flooding which sacked most residents of areas such as Oke Ayo, Apete, Odo-Ona Elewe among others from their homes urging them to cooperate with the government to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The flood has made the government revoke the contract for the reconstruction of the Apete bridge.
Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, said: “The council equally considered the Apete Bridge today and resolved that because of the current development and the heavy downpour that had suddenly occurred, there is the need to take a drastic action on the bridge construction so as to ameliorate the suffering of our people. In this wise, council decided that the drastic measure would have to be a reassessment and re-awarding of the bridge contract which should take place within the next 24 hours.
“The government is beginning soon the second phase of the removal of such structures (built on flood plains). However, we are inhibited by the activities of some landlords and landlords’ associations whose houses are located on flood plains who have taken government to court even for marking their structures for demolition. But we do plan to embark on the demolition exercise very soon. We have marked the structures and we are going to remove them but we may not cover them in totality due to these court injunctions.
“Because the task of reconstructing these bridges is so massive and is beyond the state government alone, immediately after the last year flood, Governor Abiola Ajimobi met with officials of the World Bank and did a power-point presentation on the case of Ibadan flood disaster, upon which the bank sent its representatives to the state for an assessment. The report has culminated in the bank, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Finance, agreeing in principle to grant the state government the sum of N200 million emergency relief, which is almost ready.
“Part of the fund is to channelise the 30km Ona River and complete the Upper Ogunpa River, along with helping solve the state waste management challenges, from storage, collection, transportation to disposal sites, so as to turn them into sanitary landfills and to eventually begin a waste-to-wealth programme. An absence of these efforts has often been a major cause of flood disasters. According to the release, part of the government’s efforts at ensuring that the flood disaster of last year does not reoccur was to also partner with the World Bank on the Eleyele Dam. The report which came out after this partnership discovered that the Eleyele dam had not been silted in its 47 years of existence.
“A little over a week ago, Governor Ajimobi had to urgently rush to the World Bank office in Abuja, as a result of the predicted heavy rainfall. He further made a presentation to World Bank officials in Washington through teleconferencing in Abuja to show the emergency nature of the Eleyele Dam. This led to the palliative measures taken by the state government in the reconstruction of Eleyele Dam’s broken slabs. Perhaps if this had not been done today, the flooding situation would have been more chaotic.”
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