From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Erimope-Ekiti, a community in Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti State, is wearing a bad look, following a rainstorm that blew off roofs of many houses, displacing many residents and destroying many other properties.
It was supposed to be a shower of blessings that many people had been craving due to the intense heat tormenting most parts of the country, but the rain came in torrents, compounding the people’s woes. The victims are yet to come to terms with what befell them.
The rainstorm, which many of the residents said looked like a mystery, lasted for about 10 minutes and caused enormous destruction in the community on Friday, March 5.
Daily Sun gathered that many people escaped by the whiskers. There was neither death nor major injury recorded during the calamity.
Since the incident, residents have been counting their losses. Those who witnessed it said that the rain struck hard, spreading fear and anguish in the area. A community leader, Chief Oladipo Michael, said: “It was not the first rain in the year. Everything happened within 10 minutes. Assuming there was no storm, the rain couldn’t have scared anybody from walking in the street, as it happened that day. It was not rain per se, and it lasted for about 10 to 15 minutes. And it was not heavy at all. It was just like a shower but accompanied heavy wind.
“A heavy storm like this happened in the community in 2018; then, there was heavy rain. In fact, that resulted in total blackout in the community for about one and half years because the transformer was affected, unlike this one that there was no heavy rain.
“The storm affected so many houses, schools, churches and electric poles. We have no idea how all the damaged property would be restored because it requires hundreds of millions of naira to fix them.
“Most of those affected are currently living with their neighbours that were not affected. They were not expecting such and had to scout around for refuge.
“Meanwhile, some people who have the means are already doing one repair or the other on their houses.”
The two schools affected were AUD Primary School and St. Jude’s Primary School. While the roof of a block of six classrooms in the former was blown off, the latter had a block of classrooms completely destroyed, down to its foundation.
The two churches affected were St. John’s Anglican Church and St. Jude’s Catholic Church. Most of the houses affected were bungalows, storey buildings, shops and kiosks. It was observed that the houses destroyed were not among those built on hilly areas or mountaintops in the community.
The areas where electricity poles were affected are now in a blackout.
Recounting his ordeal, a victim, Mr. Jimoh Salau, landlord of a 12-room bungalow, said: “It was a heavy storm that blew away the roof of my house. The force was so much that, after blowing the roof, it simultaneously threw some sheets on the roof of my kitchen. It was God who saved us; the storm was really heavy.”
Another victim, Mr. Samuel Olajide, owner of a four-bedroom flat, said: “My children and I were in the house between 4pm and 5pm, it didn’t rain up to 10 minutes; the heavy breeze just came. I’m happy that the rafters didn’t fall on my children. It carried both the rafters and roofing sheets.
“On Saturday, I went to borrow some money with the help of some good neighbours to embark on a fresh roofing. I needed to do it as quickly as possible because my wife is the head of all women in Erimope-Ekiti. We couldn’t also risk leaving the house like that to save our heads from subsequent rains.
“I almost committed suicide from the wreckage because it was not long since I came back from where I was receiving treatment for my leg injured in an accident recently.”
On her part, Mrs. Taiwo Oyebola said: “My house was renovated in November last year by my step-son because of the burial ceremony of my husband that will take place in April. Now, the storm has destroyed everything. Where do I start from?”
Another victim, Mr. Ayodele Johnson, a landlord of a storey building of 24 rooms, said: “I never expected that to happen because there wasn’t much rain. It is costing me a whole lot now to do the roofing again. Most of the occupants are displaced already, especially those living upstairs. I have started with the repairs and I will be spending more than N1 million to do the renovation. As I speak, I have bought iron sheets worth N810,000. What about the rafters, asbestos, nails, and so many other things to be done?”