The people of Ijebu Imope in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, after experiencing the destructive side of a recent rainstorm, are now appealing to the local and state governments to come to their aid. ADEWALE OSHODI, who recently visited the community, reports on how over 200 people have been rendered homeless after the rainfall.
THE coming of the rainy season signifies productivity for agrarian communities, but the people of Ijebu Imope in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State are, however, counting their losses following the massive loss of properties worth millions of naira after a heavy downpour on the night of May 3, 2016.
When the rainfall began, the residents thought of sweet sleep that night, but by the time the day broke, they realised they had just experienced a catastrophe.
With the roofs of about 23 homes blown off, several families were thereby rendered homeless. Other residents who were lucky to still have their homes intact are now left with no other choice than to take in those who were affected.
However, the level of destruction has made the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Alademeta Omotayo, reach out to the local and state governments to come to the aid of the displaced.
“As the traditional ruler of Ijebu Imope, I am really saddened by the havoc the rain wreaked on my people; it has rendered many families homeless, and what I can do is to reach out to the local and state governments to come to our aid.
“Officials of the Ijebu North Local Government have actually come see things for themselves, but we are yet to hear anything from them. I have also sent a letter to the state government, and we are still awaiting its response.
“As things stand now, many families are putting up with their neighbours till help comes their way, and I hope that the government at the local and state level will rise up to the occasion.
“Since the incident happened, I have really not been happy, particularly seeing my people squatting with their neighbours because of what happened. I can only plead with our government again to come to our aid,” Oba Omotayo said.
One of the victims of the destruction, Mr Oduga-Samuel Abiodun, who works in Abeokuta, had part of the roof of his family house blown-off.
“Since the incident happened, I have been coming from Abeokuta to see my mother every week so as to support her psychologically.
“One funny thing is that my mother’s house is beside my father’s, and the rain blew off part of the roofs of the two buildings.
“While I have quickly raised money to fix my father’s house, I am still struggling to do same for my mother’s building.
“I hope if the local or state government comes to our aid, then it will really go a long way in easing our challenges.
“We all know the economic challenges many families are facing at the moment, so it is just so unfortunate for this kind of thing to happen.
“At a time when we are thinking of how to survive economically, this destruction has set us back, but I pray that the local and state governments will take pity on us,” Mr Oduga-Samuel said.
Another victim, Madam Rafatu Adetola, who now lives with a neighbour, called on the government to take pity on her and help her repair her roof.
“I now stay with a neighbour, and it is not really conducive for me, as well as for those I am staying with.
“I am a widow, and my children have been looking for ways to help, but they also have their own challenges, so there is a limit to how much I can ask from them,” Madam Adetola, an octogenarian, said.
Apart from residential buildings, the town hall was also affected, as well as some churches. When asked what he felt since the beginning of this year’s rainy season, Oba Omotayo said, “Since most of my people are farmers, they are always happy when the rainy season comes.
“Despite the fact that this year’s rain has brought with it destruction, we still can’t say we don’t want the rains any more. We need the rains to grow our crops, but we just need government’s support to overcome the havoc the last storm has wreaked on our community,” Oba Omotayo said.