Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Many parts of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, have been left flooded as a result of torrential rains which lasted for over 15 hours.
The heavy downpour, which started from 11 pm on Friday until 3 pm on Saturday, caused the flooding of at least 1,200 houses in the metropolis.
Some of the worst-hit areas include Living Faith Church on Naka Road, Assembly of God Secondary School on Naka Road, Jerome Hwande Street, Ankpa Quarters Extension, Ankpa Ward by Demekpe, behind the Customary Court of Appeal, opposite First Gate, Benue State University, Gboko Road, and the Federal University of Agriculture Road, North-Bank, Makurdi, behind Modern Market.
Other areas affected are Kighir settlement along Naka Road, Wurukum Market, Wurukum, Logo 1 Akpehe Village, Ide Village, opposite Zone 4, Police Headquarters and Kasho Village, along Otukpo-Makurdi Highway, as well as BIPC Estate and its extension, Yiman Layout, Makurdi.
The heavy rainfall also caused traffic gridlock along major roads and streets as well as rendered many families homeless with their property destroyed.
A resident of BIPC Estate, who gave her name as Mrs Victoria Adah, lamented that the rains sacked her and her entire family from their home, saying that they are now taking refuge at a neighbour’s whose abode was less flooded.
Mrs Adah, who showed reporters some of her grains which were soaked in the rains, lamented the yearly nightmare, which the flood had become in the area.
‘Government at all levels, as well as good-spirited individuals and corporate organisations, must come to our aid because at this stage; we can no longer help ourselves,’ she said.
Another victim, Mrs Blessing Attah, gave a graphic picture of how the rain started and then entered their premises.
‘We thought it was a joke when the rain started until we saw water entering our compound. My husband’s car was soaked inside the water. All our foodstuffs flooded and our appliances destroyed by the water.
‘Government at all levels must do something about this flood. They should open more drainages and control the water channels coming towards our area here,’ Blessing said.
Another victim, Mr Ajai Kume, decried the wanton destruction caused by the rain adding that so many items in her home including 25 bags of cement worth N67,500 which she bought yesterday to complete her ongoing house project.
On his part, a rice trader, Mr Nwafor Ogbona, disclosed that he lost 56 bags of foreign rice to the water, that his house was badly washed away by the water.
‘I don’t know how to move my things out of this water; the rain is heavy and it came at a time we are sleeping.’
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said that dredging remained the only solution to Benue flooding, even as he called on National Assembly members from the state to liaise and impress on the Federal Government to hasten the dredging of the River Benue.
The Governor warned against building on water channels, saying that the government would soon begin a clampdown on people building in such areas.
He disclosed that the government is providing alternative abodes to relocate affected victims pending when the flood would subside.