By G9ija

The havoc wreaked by rainstorms in Ilorin and other parts of Kwara State is generating concerns from victims as well as sympathisers.

The torrential downpour in Ilorin, the state capital in particular, left sorrow, tears and blood in its wake. At least three lives were believed to have been lost, including two persons reportedly washed away by flood, after the rains had finished pounding the earth.

Scores of houses also had their roofs blown off by the raging storm that accompanied the heavy rains in the Ilorin metropolis while electricity poles were destroyed in Taiwo and Odota areas of the state capital. Telecommunication masts and building walls were also not spare by the rampaging storms, with areas like Olonkonla, Bobonkiri, Egba-Akota, Aberi, Akuji and Idiope, all in Ita-Ogunbo area, Alanamu Ward in Ilorin West Local Government Area, the worst hit.

The rainstorms have seen many residents of the Ilorin metropolis counting their losses. They are also appealing to philanthropists and governments at all levels to come to their aid.

Spokesperson of Yero compound, Okelele area, Ilorin East Local Government Area, Tunde Kuranga, said the havoc wreaked by the storms was phenomenal. He said the rooftops of all the buildings in the compound were blown off by storm.

Kuranga reckoned that nothing less than N3.2 million would be needed to fix the affected buildings.

Three buildings were also destroyed at Olesin Compound in the same Okelele area, as their roofs were all blown off.

Alhaji Hanafi Olesin, the patriach of the family, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “The building where my aged mother stays was not spared. I had to hurriedly cough out N76,000 to fix the roof so that my mother would not sleep in the open.

“Indeed, the damage done by the storms in the metropolis is seemingly incalculable and unquantifiable.”

Another compound in Abe-Emi, also in the metropolis, was hit by the destruction. The entire roof was carried away, a source in the compound said, adding that nothing less than one million naira would be required to fix the damage roof.

The source added that planks alone would require a whopping N400,000, not to talk of the roofing sheets.

One Aiyegbami Islamic School in Alagbado area of the metropolis was also affected as the entire roof of the school was blown away.

Prior to the deadly rainstorms that occurred penultimate Saturday, floods occasioned by torrential rains had washed away farmlands and buildings in Moro, Edu

and Pategi local government areas of the state. The three councils are surrounded by River Niger and the villagers are predominantly fish and rice farmers.

Moved by the development in Ilorin and other parts of the state, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq raced to Abuja to seek assistance. He put the damage done at a princely sum of N10 billion.

Governor visits affected areas

Governor AbdulRazak has since undertaken a tour of the affected areas for on-the-spot assessment of the damage done. The tour occurred as a government team began the delivery of food palliatives to the Kwara North Senatorial District, beginning with Jebba town in Moro Local Government Area and Lafiagi in Edu Local Government Area.

AbdulRazaq began the tour immediately he arrived Ilorin from Abuja where he had gone to inform the President about the havoc wreaked by floods across the state and the Saturday rainstorm in several parts of Ilorin, among other issues.

Well over 15,000 households across 357 communities of the state are estimated to have been affected by the ugly incidents that also destroyed farmlands and human dwellings worth billions of naira.

A government delegation led by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi had earlier visited the communities on behalf of the governor, including, Ilorin, Jebba, Patigi, and Edu.

Accompanied by Senator Ibrahim Yahya Oloriegbe and a few government officials, AbdulRazaq commiserated with the victims and reassured them of government’s solidarity and willingness to assist them within the scope of available resources while relevant federal government agencies are expected to also come to their aid.

“I was with the President yesterday and have passed the message to His Excellency. I am sure the right things will be done,” AbdulRazaq later told reporters on the sideline of the visit to Okelele area.

“National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency

Management Agency (SEMA) are already collating data and response is going on. This has happened at the same time with the flooding in Jebba, Lafiagi and Patigi local government areas and others.”

The governor noted that the incidents underscored the need for everyone to protect the environment and avoid unlawful erection of structures or dumping of waste on waterways.

He said: “This incident is part of the global ecological problems we are facing. But we also need to check the way we dump garbage in the water. We must plant trees and find ways to reduce the impact of the ecological problems we suffer from.

“The government is alive to its responsibilities. Once the data is collated, the right palliatives will be distributed.

“Right now, relief materials are being distributed in Jebba and other parts of Kwara North Senatorial District.”

Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, on his part, commiserated with the victims, saying that efforts were being made by the state and federal governments to assist the people as soon as possible.

He said: “The message to my constituents is to sympathise with them over the incident. I have been in consultation with Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, and we waited for him to first report directly to the President.

“We have contacted the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Director of Operations in the office for the government to act.

“But there is need for specific data of those affected, which is being collated by the Kwara State Emergency Management Agency and will be submitted to NEMA. “The governor is also making great efforts and personally, as the senator representing Kwara Central, I will also make (available) some palliatives such as (500 bundles of) iron sheets, mattresses and blankets.

“The materials will be donated directly to the poorest who may need them the most.

“I am appealing to the community and religious leaders to ensure that this is done.”

Some of the areas the governor visited included Ita-Ogunbo, Pakata, Oloje, Ode-Alausa, Ojuekun, Okelele, Sakama, Muritala, Alore, Omoda, Magaji Are and Amule.

Already, the government has begun the distribution of food palliatives to poor victims and the vulnerable.

Kale Belgore, Special Adviser and Counsellor to the Governor, who led the team, said the government embarked on the exercise to mitigate the suffering of victims, who he said are painfully counting their losses to either rainstorm or flood disaster across the state.

He said the gift items were not targeted at flood casualties alone but also for those classified as poor in the localities. He said the government harvested the list of beneficiaries from community representatives, including community-based organisations, who had been asked to generate same on account of their knowledge of their areas.

He said the relief materials had been donated to the government by the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to help the poor and the vulnerable.