Some communities in Taraba and Kwara states recently felt the rage of the storm. ABDULLAHI OLESIN Ilorin and JOHN MKOM, Jalingo bring tales of woes from the victims
It was a double tragedy for the people of Oro town and its environs in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara as the occurrences of two natural disasters within 48 hours destroyed 80 shops and residential buildings in the Kwara South communities.
This is even as residents of Wukari local government area of Taraba State whose houses and properties were destroyed by windstorms a fortnight ago are still in anguish and pains over the disaster that befell them.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that in Idofi, a suburb of Wukari local government area, many residents are sleeping outside as their houses and farm products were destroyed by the windstorm.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP Weekend in Wukari, a sachet water factory owner, Mr Eric Ajiduku, said he lost properties worth over a million naira in the windstorm.
“My workers and I were at work when the windstorm started, I had to disengage them for safety, the windstorm came in such a way that we could not take anything away from the factory.
“The windstorm destroyed so many of our working machines including water tanks, water pipes, water filters, and other relevant equipment worth over N1.5m.
“As I speak to you, my workers are idle now. Fixing the equipment destroyed by the windstorm will take me time because there is no cash for now and the price of goods in the market has skyrocketed.”
The first disaster was recorded on Monday as the fire burnt down no fewer than 30 shops in Oro central market.
As if that was not enough, a heavy rainfall accompanied by a windstorm the following day also dealt a terrible blow on the people of Oro and some adjourning communities, blowing off rooftops of at least 50 buildings.
The rainstorm disaster occurred a few hours after the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq left Oro, the country home of the minister of Information and Culture Alh Lai Mohammed, where he had gone to sympathise with the people of the town over the fire disaster.
The downpour accompanied by windstorms also destroyed scores of houses in Oro, Iludun Oro and Esie; all in Irepodun local government area of the state.
The storm, it was gathered, also pulled down electric poles, thus throwing the entire communities into total darkness.
The rain started around 3 pm and did not last up to an hour, a resident of the town Hauwa Babatunde, said.
The zonal spokesperson, Oro community, Mr Niyi Adekeye, said “The whole incident has thrown the entire Oro and its environs into total darkness. We are therefore appealing to the state government to come to our rescue. What is most devastating is that one of our industrious sons Hon Shina Afolabi on Monday completed the roofing of his house. The rain with its storms came and blew the entire roof off.
He said, “The damage done to us is invaluable. We are therefore appealing to the state government and public-spirited individuals to come to our aid. We have been in darkness since the storm has destroyed electric poles and cables.”
The Balogun of Oro, Chief Jacob Aransiola, the Alapinni of Oro, Chief Sunday Fatoye whose three houses were affected, Afolabi and Mr Niyi Oyeyiola of Mosin compound, Oro while speaking with LEADERSHIP Weekend separately lamented the disaster that befell them and their communities, calling on the state government to come to their rescue.
Meanwhile, the senior priest St. Matt’s Catholic Church, Wukari, Rev Peter Tari, whose house and several items including a car parked in the apartment were destroyed said he left everything in the hands of God.
“I cannot make any statement for now over the windstorm destruction,” he said, adding that he was not at home when it happened. He said the junior priest was the one around when it happened.
A resident of Idofi, Abashi Atoshi, confirmed to our correspondent that over 100 people were displaced from the area by the windstorm.
Atoshi called on the government and well-meaning citizens to help the people to return to their various houses, stating that the people were preparing for the farming season before the devastation by the rainstorms.
He said, “We have several people who have been displaced by the windstorm, as you can see, myself and my family members slept outside, we have no roof on our head again.
“The store where we keep our farm seeds has also been destroyed, though we thank God no life was lost. If we can get assistance from anywhere, we will be grateful and happy, because as I speak to you, so many people from this area have deserted their houses as a result of the windstorm. Some are taking refuge with their relatives while some have gone out of this area in search of their daily bread.”
The chairman Wukari Local Government Council, Adi Daniel Grace, said no life was lost during the incident, adding that the people need urgent assistance to help them return to their farming activities.
“I am still inspecting the affected areas. We will be able to come out with the actual number of displaced persons and the worth of the properties destroyed by the windstorm,” Adi added.