A 12-hour torrential rain yesterday paralysed social and economic activities in Anambra and Cross River states as the ensuing flood swept away residential estates, markets and private buildings.
In Awka, the Anambra State capital, the residences of Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG Ikemefuna Okoye (rtd) and others in Ngozika Housing Estate, Awka, were submerged by the flood.
The rain started at 4am and lasted till 2:30pm.
When Nigerian Pilot visited the AIG’s residence at Road 16 in the State Government Housing Estate, about half of the entire house was submerged in the flood while Okoye and all members of his family were immediately relocated for safety. The former AIG’s orderly, Odeh Adole also relocated his abode to a Hillux van being used by the security details of the former police chief as his escort van.
Adole lamented that not even a pin was removed from his boss’s house because everybody was away when the flood came.
Governor Willie Obiano was forced to postpone the weekly Monday State Executive Council meeting as he rushed to the scene of the natural disaster to inspect the extent of the damage.
One Jude Ogbonna, whose building is under construction in the estate, lamented that the flood had done a lot of damage to the project, adding that some bags of cement and other materials on the site were washed away by the flood.
According to one resident who pleaded anonymity, “It is sad that we incurred these losses because if the State Housing Corporation had provided the necessary structures, knowing that this part of the estate is prone to flooding, this disaster would have been prevented. After collecting money from allottees they refused to do proper channelling of flood; this is why this disaster has happened. Yet, they are still asking us to pay more because they say that the state government has appointed a consultant to come and collect more money from us.”
However, Ogbonna further stated that he has already spent about N7million in his building.
Obiano urged the people to stop building on waterways and blocking of drains.
In a statement, the governor said: “We have cautioned our people to observe basic rules and guidelines when embarking on the construction of their buildings. We can see that the rains are here and are causing havoc here and there.
“People should desist from dumping refuse and blocking drainage because it contributes to what we are witnessing. Anyone caught in the act will contend with relevant laws and where found guilty will be punished.”
The governor expressed sympathy with the retired AIG Ikemefuna Okoye and instructed that the occupants be lodged in a hotel for few days while remedial measures are made to check the flooding.
He also warned those whose buildings are blocking drains that the government will not hesitate to demolish them to save lives.
At 3-3 Onitsha where flooding eroded the foot of the bridge thereby obstructing traffic, Obiano observed that the building which caused the havoc had been pulled down as directed, with the Nkisi flood channel opened for free-flow. The bridge was pulled off by flood on Friday.
He stated that the rescue work on the bridge will be completed in two weeks and once more warned against blocking of the flood channel.
Similarly, facilities and fish worth millions of naira were destroyed at Abube-Nando as flood associated with yesterday’s heavy rain which started by 7am lasted up to midday, emptied into the fish pond.
Mr. Chris Chukwuemeka who owns a farm located between Oyi River and Anambra East Local Government Area, told newsmen the feeds worth N1.5million and others totally N7.5 million was lost to the flood.
In Calabar, the Cross River State capital, several households have been displaced by flood from torrential rains.
Mostly affected are residents of Goldie, Target, Ebito and Yellow Duke Streets which are flood-prone areas.
The state government had earlier advised residents of flood-prone areas in Calabar to relocate to safe places.
The state government threatened to demolish houses along water channels to avert disaster.
Though most residents of the city vacated the flooded areas, others refused to relocate.
Director-General of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Vincent Aqua, said the agency was assessing the situation, while efforts were being made to resettle the displaced parsons.
Aqua appealed to residents of flood-prone areas to relocate “for their own safety.”

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