Felix Ikem, Nsukka
For the people of Uwal-Ugwu and Agbani communities in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, rainy season has become a period of agony, misery and destruction of lives and property because of the attendant flood there.
Daily Sun gathered that since 2016, the two communities have continued to live in palpable fear owing to the perennial flooding threatening them after the construction of major roads in Nsukka town and the subsequent channelling of flood water to the communities.
Daily Sun investigation revealed that every year, not less than 12 persons lose their lives to this natural catastrophe ravaging the town.
In July 2017, an eight-year-old girl, Ezinne Eze, was killed by flood at the new market road, Alu Udele, Nsukka when she came out to throw away used sanitary pad in the compound.
The flood was said to have originated from the waterway channelled into their compound during the construction of Nsukka/Enugu Road in 2016. The ferocious flood from Enugu road, which ran through the university gate, terminating at Alor Uno community pulled down their compound’s fence.
This newspaper had reported that on the same day, one Alex Chukwu, a student of Mathematics from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), who hailed from Ebonyi state became a victim.
He was drowned alongside a cyclist (okada rider) identified as Monday Ezema from Ogbodu Edem Ani community, Nsukka.
Ezema was reportedly carrying the student to the university gate when the raging flood along the road swept and carried them from the spot to Alor Uno, where their lifeless bodies were later recovered.
When our reporter visited the two communities recently to ascertain the level of damage, some dwellers were seen looking distraught, not actually knowing how to handle the menace as flood had already created deep holes and pulled down some houses in the communities.
Mr. Anthony Ezema from Uwal-Ugwu said the ravaging flood has rendered his family homeless since 2017 and was speedily encroaching what was left of his compound.
“The ugly situation started in 2016 when Nsukka/Enugu and other major roads in Nsukka were reconstructed. The flood water from Obechara and Barracks junctions were channelled to Uwal-Ugwu, leading to destruction of property and loss of lives in the community. You can see how the flood has caused deep erosion and pulled down my six-room apartment. You can also see how the erosion has encroached into my compound. We have appealed to the government to help us. We are still appealing to Enugu State Government to help save us from this disaster currently staring us in the face,” he said.
Another resident who had suffered same fate, Mr. Emmanuel Magbo, lamented that the flood has wreaked unimaginable havoc to his household.
“We are very happy that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi reconstructed so many roads in Nsukka town leading to development in the area. However, in August 2016, flood water from Obechara and Barracks junctions submerged my compound and destroyed property running into tens of millions of naira. More than 20 tenants living in my compound ran away with their outstanding rents,” he stated.
The octogenarian explained that the governor visited and sympathised with them after the incident and directed the contractor that handled the road reconstruction to re-channel the flood to a safe place.
“Till today, nothing has been done to this effect and the flood has continued to wreak more havoc to both communities. We are appealing that the government should look into our situation and come to our aid to forestall further damages,” he said.
Similarly, another victim, Mrs. Pauline Eze, recounted that she lost her farm together with the birds and pigs to the menace.
“I am a headteacher at Community Primary School, Agbani and farmer in Agbani. This unending flood has caused a lot of hardship to me and my family. I have lost my booming farm housing tens of pigs and birds to the menace,” she lamented.
A member of the Erosion Control Committee in the communities, Mr. Jonas Ojobo told Daily Sun that they had tried their best to checkmate ugly occurrence, all to no avail.
“Remember that one Chimsimdiri, a five-year-old pupil at one private school was killed by flood in this community last year. We are helpless. We don’t know where to run to. We need the help of the state government to win the war against flood here,” he stated.