From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo
Residents of the popular Nwezenyi Junction, Igbeagu, in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, are still in pain one month after a heavy wind that swept through the community on the night of Friday, April 16, 2021, rendered many families homeless and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
Those affected were mostly internally displaced persons (IDPs) who, for sake of safety, had relocated from different Igbeagu villages where there were communal clashes between them and the Ukele people of Cross River State.
Many of the displaced persons were still gathering the pieces of their lives following their relocation to a new abode when they were again hit by the whirlwind.
Narrating the experience, David Erige said he was in his room alongside his family when the fearful wind started shaking his roof; he hurriedly dragged his children out but, unfortunately, one of the flying pieces of corrugated iron sheet (zinc) fell on his wife and cut her feet.
Erige further noted that his pregnant wife was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital where she was treated but the ferocious wind destroyed a lot of his property, animals’ pen and all the foodstuff in his house: “I’m appealing to concerned authorities to come to our aid, since we are victims of Ukele crisis and have been finding life difficult before the recent disaster befell us.
“We were accommodated yesterday night by Hon. Peter Itenshi, who sheltered and fed us, but our fate tonight and henceforth is at the mercy of God and we are begging Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency to come to our assistance with foodstuff and some pieces of zinc to enable us resettle in our home.”
Another victim, Mrs. Angela Charles, headmistress of Charles-Angel International Nursery, Primary and Secondary School, Nwezenyi, described the experience as a shock, stressing that, while the wind was blowing, they were praying, knowing that it was unusual.
She hinted that, among the damage done in the school was the destruction of’ learning materials and the school’s roof that was blown away, but thanked God that no life was lost.
The headmistress pointed out that the school was recently established and, since the wind hit, it has affected their learning activities as some pupils were forced to relocate to nearby apartments to ease learning.
Reverend pastors of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Christ Ascension Church, Nwezenyi, and others counted their losses in millions of naira and appealed to concerned individuals and Ebonyi SEMA to come to their assistance.
Meanwhile, the village head, Nwezenyi Igbeagu autonomous community, Chief Ola Pius, regretted the incident and described the experience as shocking, adding that stakeholders of the area had in their little way given support to the affected families.
Ola, who took our reporter round the affected homes, appealed to government at all levels for intervention, and urged well-meaning individuals to come to the victims’ rescue by assisting them iu roofing their houses.