Lagos Rainstorm: How We Escaped Death – Survivors

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Storm in Lagos

Storm in Lagos

The heavy rainstorm that occurred in Lagos on Monday morning led to loss of lives and property. Victims recount how they survived the storm, while counting their losses.

For many Lagosians whose minds were on how to celebrate the Valentine’s Day, the rainstorm of February 13 was unprecedented as it was not yet the rainy season.
Rainy season or not, millions of naira worth of property were lost on that black Monday.

One resident who suffered huge losses was Mrs. Folake John. She said, “I think the rain started when it was past 7 o’clock in the morning. And it was not even a heavy rainfall.

It was rather a whirlwind. It took off the roofing sheets covering our house. It also affected the container where I sell provisions. It damaged my goods.”

Some residents of the area blamed Lagos State government’s negligence as part of the reasons why? the rain had such a serious impact.

A member of the Community Development Association of the area, Josiah Oladele said that the inattention of government to the blocked drainage channel in the area caused the place to be overrun by flood.

“The canal used to be very good. Canoes passed through. But it became blocked. We need government to come and dredge the canal. We have approached the state government. They only said they would come and do something, but we have not seen them,” said Oladele.

Another resident, Mrs. Sidikat Olorunlogbon said, “We had just finished our early morning Muslim prayer. We thought it was a joke when the whole thing started. The wind took off roofs of houses. Look at my room.

Look at the water seeping through the floor. This place is a coastal area. We need government to help us. We need them to help us fix the blocked canal.”

Lamenting, a resident, Friday Eze who said he had just returned on a journey from the South-East, explained that he did not know how to raise fund to replace his roof which was blown off by the rain.

For Ade, life would never be the same again. At Ojota, a weeping 14-year-old Ade recounted his ordeal and that of his friends, many of whom lost their lives to the rainstorm when they were sailing to school in a boat.

“We left home very early in the morning on our way to school. That was not the first time we would be using boat to school. Everyday we sail on a boat to cross to the other side where our school is located.

We were just discussing normally with ourselves when the wind started blowing. It became very serious and threw all of us out of the boat.

“We were very close to the shore, and luckily I could swim. People were just shouting, and crying. Everybody fell into water. I rescued myself first and rescued two others before the water carried the rest away.”

Ade, who refused to be consoled, said he lost one of his best friends in the mishap, which he said occurred while they were very close to the shores of the Lagoon on their way to school.

Ade narrated that he could only rescue himself and two others that were sitting very close to him in the boat, while the rest of his friends got drowned.

Some of those who lost their lives in the mishap were Mistura Hassam, 9; Fausat Hassan, 7; Michael Eniola, 12; Tope Rufai, Ayisat Hassan, Afisat Hassan, Abigail Aminu, Oniru Muyibi, Nofisat Aminu, and Aminat Tijani .

Areas affected include Sabo in Yaba, Jakande Estate in Ejigbo, Isolo, Surulere, Itire – Lawanson, Victoria Island, and Ikoyi – Obalende and Ojodu.

Though the rain which started minutes after 7 o’clock in the morning was brief, yet the storm that came with it was very strong and was the reason for the great destruction that occurred.

The strong wind took off the roofs of many houses in affected areas. Telecommunication masts and electric cables were also brought down. The panic that the rainstorm generated was so great to the extent that there were those who had begun to think that rapture (second coming of Christ) had taken place.

Mr. Godspower Ekpeyong, a Further Mathematics teacher at Saint Gregory’s College on Lagos Island reportedly died when a telecommunication mast fell on him on his way to work. Fences around Dodan Barracks in Ikoyi were also pulled down.?

At Commercial Avenue, Sabo, Yaba, a telecommunication mast belonging to a branch of Unity Bank PLC was pulled down. The same happened to the mast in the compound where Susu Microfinance Bank is located.

At Sabo in Yaba, Abisola Abatan who lives at 143, Esuruoso Street said the rain did not last for up to one hour. “This is the first time the roof of our house would be taken off whenever it rained. Since we moved into this place more than 40 years ago we have not experienced this. Government should please intervene in our situation.’’

As a result of the rainstorm, the Lagos State House of Assembly has summoned the Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello to explain the ministry’s preparation to combat heavy downpour in the state.

The motion was moved by Hon. Yishawu Gbolahan during a plenary session under matters of urgent public importance. Yishawu, who represents Eti-Osa Constituency 2, lamented the heavy rainstorm and said there was the need for the ministry? to wake up to its responsibility before things got out of hand.

The lawmakers, while debating on the motion, said the weather forecast had revealed there was going to be a heavy rain and government ought to have done something about it.

Members also resolved to organise a town hall meeting to educate their constituents on how to maintain drainages in order to combat flooding.

On his part, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu 1, said government ought to start enforcing laws on environmental sanitation, especially dormant laws.

Kelvin Alohan
Author: Kelvin Alohan

In : Lagos

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