Rainstorm brings tears in Lagos

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Apr 13th, 2014
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Shattered roofs, smashed ceilings and collapsed concrete structures. That was the scene yesterday in many parts of Lagos State, following an early morning rainstorm that destroyed property worth millions of naira.

The rain lasted about 45 minutes, but the magnitude of the destruction it left behind could not be immediately quantified.

In most parts of Ilupeju, a neighbourhood in Odi Olowo-Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA), many tearful residents were counting their losses.

The worst hit areas are Iseyin and Adegboyega streets, off Oyewole Street, where about 10 houses had their roofs blown off. Residents ran out when an Internet server mast belonging to a Customs’ agency on 54, Iseyin Street fell on nearby buildings, injuring one person.

Another mast said to belong to a telecommunications company fell at Adebowale House, a popular electronics showroom in Onipanu, destroying the structure.

A victim, Mrs Abosede Dominic, broke down at the sight of her shattered two-bedroom apartment. She was returning from the morning mass. “I thank God that my ailing husband, mother and children I left in the house are not injured by flying objects,” she said repeatedly.

There is no more shelter for her household, at least, for now, because the ceiling of the two-storey building was blown off by the wind. Items in the rooms, including electronic gadgets and furniture, were covered by pieces of smashed building materials.

Mrs Dominic’s 19-year-old son, Olatunde, who was with his stroke-stricken father, said: “Everything happened suddenly. I was with my dad, grandmother and younger ones, discussing when the ceiling came down on us. Before we could get up, the roof had been removed by the wind. We had to assist my dad and grandmother out of the room to a safe place.”

Mr Olujimi Ogunbiyi, another victim, said: “I was in church when I received a call that something had happened. Then I rushed home and discovered that my room had collapsed. The rain soaked everything in the house and damaged my electronics. What happened is not good news for anybody, but we have to accept it with faith.”

The Customs’ agency’s mast fell on a provision shop where two teenagers were attending to customers. The Nation gathered that the teenagers, who are children of the shop owner identified as Iya Ahmed, ran out when the mast hit the roof. Both of them escaped unhurt but the shop, which is attached to House 50, caved in following the impact of the fallen mast.

Mallam Musa Garba, whose movable kiosk is beside the collapsed shop, was injured by the mast, which fell across Tawose Street.

A vulcaniser working on the spot, Sarafa Aliu, who escaped being hit by the mast, said: “I was with a customer in his car when the rainstorm started. As I alighted from the car, the storm became intense and I sat under a shelter beside Mallam Musa’s kiosk. When the rain was becoming too much, I got up and ran towards a house. Before I got to the house, the mast fell on the spot I was sitting. The mast hit Iya Ahmed’s shop and I saw her two children running out of the shop for safety.”

A drama ensued when one of our reporters sought the view of the shop owner. Her husband told her not to speak. This drew the attention of some angry residents.

A youth and an elderly man attacked the reporter with an umbrella rod and dispossessed him of his writing materials.

“Your report can bring (Governor Babatunde) Fashola to this area; we don’t want that,” an angry resident said.

Adeolu Awomolo, a resident of 15, Iseyin Street, whose roof was blown off, said he was preparing for church when he felt a vibration from the ceiling.

About 10 houses on Adegboyega and Iseyin streets had their roofs blown off. There are houses in Awoyokun, Egbeyemi, Adesiyan and Ilupeju streets, all in the community, which were affected by the storm. Although, there was no report of death, some occupants of the affected buildings were injured.

On Ijaiye Street in the Ajegunle area, over 500 buildings were affected. The rain also torched Ajeromi Public Primary School in the area.

Part of the roof of a three-storey building housing Christ the King Primary School, Orodu Street, was also affected.

Worshipers at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Queens Street, in the same area escaped death as the roof almost collapsed on them.

An eyewitness, Jimoh Saka, said the rainstorm blew off the roof of a one-storey building which houses a mosque and a Muslim school, Mohinatu Ibrahimiyat Arabic School, on Moshalashi Lane.

The roof of a one-storey building on 40, Okito Street in the same area was blown off as other residents abandoned their homes in fear.

Another resident, Andrew Udoh, said: “Immediately the wind blew off our roof, I moved my wife and three children to my brother’s home in the Awodiora area of Ajegunle. But unfortunately, the rainstorm also blew off the roof of my brother. It is quite unfortunate.”

In Ebute-Metta area on the mainland, several buildings, including a police barracks, were affected. Amukoko and Ijora seemed to be the worst hit.

In Ijora, The Nation gathered that the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness on Town Hall Street and many houses were affected.

The roof of a two-storey building that was blown off blocked a major road in the area, causing a serious traffic snarl.

Residents of Alaba Oro Road in Amukoko on the outskirts of Lagos were rendered homeless.

At Palmgrove, Gbagada, Pedro and Bariga as well as its environs, tales of anguish were all over as the rainstorm blew off many roofs. Several residents experienced similar problems in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area and Badagry.

However, the General Manager, Weather Forecast Services of Nigerian Meteorology Agency (NiMet), Mr Christopher Onu, has said that the rain’s pattern was normal.

Onu told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN): “The onset of the rainy season is always associated with violent wind which can cause some damages when it rains. It is a normal rain pattern as it was predicted during the Seasonal Rainfall Pattern report. We will also be expecting it at the end of the rainy season as predicted by NiMet between November and December.”

The Director-General of NiMet, Dr Anthony Anuforom, also said that based on the signal, this year will witness a shorter rainy season.

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