By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
The rains they say are showers of blessing but for residents of First Avenue, a riverside community located along the Kuje road, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT; this appears not to be the case at the moment.
This is because the torrential rains in the nation’s capital in the past couple of weeks have rendered hundreds of people homeless, following the destruction of over 60 houses.
Some of the victims who spoke to our correspondents lamented the extent of the destruction, noting that the rains this year have been quite different from what they have been used to for a long time. Mr. Simon Omale, a retired Warrant Officer said he used his savings and retirement benefits to build a house, part of which he rented out to tenants, regretting however that it has been washed away by the floods.
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“On July 25, 2020, we woke up to see flood overwhelming us. The water was coming both back and forth and the water level was uncontrollable. This compound was what I invested all I had after my 31 years of service in the navy. The flat is on rent; this is where I get money to take care of my family and my aging parents.
“As you can see (pointing to what remained of the old building), there is no single tenant again. They have left because there is nowhere they can lay their heads. The water was up to the ceiling in the rooms and outside,” he said.
According to him, “The flood is caused by Usman Dam that was opened because we have never experienced this before. We really want the government to help us by relocating us as a short time solution but for a long term solution, I will suggest that the water be dredged so that the water can go deep.”
Omale added that many farmlands were washed away, noting that though officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, came around to take inventory of the victims and extent of damage; nothing has come their way in form of palliative measures to cushion the effect of the tragedy.
“The NEMA people came and wrote names and said we would hear from the government. But until now, we have not heard anything. All we are asking is for the Minister of FCT to help us because we are homeless.”
Joesph Okeji, a leader in the community said he has been living in the area for the past 30 years, adding however that the settlement witnessed the devastating effect of flood for the first time this year.
He called on the government to come to their aid to assist all the tenants and landlords affected by the floods.
“This is the first time in history this is happening, that we are experiencing flood which has rendered both tenants and landlords homeless. We want the government to help those of us that are homeless.”
Mallam Nuhu Yahaya, another resident of First Avenue also pleaded with the FCT administration and relevant government agencies to rise up and save the people as they have no one to turn to for assistance.