Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The rainy season ought to be a time of hope and blessings, especially for farming communities, who envision the rainfall for bountiful harvests. In some cases, however, the rain comes with a downpour that is more than enough, breaking hearts in its wake.
And that was exactly what happened on the evening of Sunday, July 19, 2020, when the skies let down the rains on Makurdi, Benue State. That evening, at about 6:30pm, the clouds floated in the sky for a while and paved the way for the rain to fall.
In few minutes and without enough notice, the whole of the metropolis of the state was overwhelmed with water. Areas such as Achusa, Barracks Road, Wadata, Kutcha Utebe, parts of Naka Road, were negatively affected and unusable.
The worst hit was the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), on Barracks Road, where both the English and Hausa auditoria and the residences of the two pastors were flooded, almost to their window level. Also devastated was the Nursery and Primary School of the Church located within the same premises.
Narrating the experience, the pastor in charge of Hausa Church, Reverend Williams Mkar, said he was in the living room with his wife when the rain started: “Suddenly, I just saw water gushing into the house from the main door, which was supposed to have been closed and within minutes, the whole of my three-bedroom apartment was flooded, with all our chairs completely submerged in the flood.
“In no time, it had flooded to all the rooms, sending all our children who were in their rooms scampering to the palour where we were. One of our children had to lift the youngest child on her shoulders because by this time, the water level had reached our waste.
“When my wife made efforts to open the kitchen door to see if we could escape through there, we were surprised at the level of water that forcefully gushed into the house from there. When the water level kept rising, we knew it was time for us to leave the house.
“I told my family to brace up as I moved to open the door. We carefully waded through the flood into the English Church auditorium that was less flooded where we stayed until help came our way.”
Mkar said it was later discovered that a part of the church fence had collapsed, which allowed a large volume of water to flood from a nearby drainage into the church premises.
The Pastor in Charge of the English Church, Rev. Musa Timothy, said it was the first time the church was witnessing such level of flooding.
He blamed the annual incidents of flood on the drainage control system in the area, which could no longer contain the volume of water flowing through it, a development which he noted, causes an overflow during rainy season.
Head teacher of ECWA Nursery/Primary School, David Agbo, urged the state government to take urgent steps to address the perennial flooding in the area.