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Rainfall destroys millions of Naira property in Abakaliki, environs

A heavy downpour in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, has destroyed property worth millions of Naira, including a poultry farm belonging to one Mr Uchebuike Ibe, houses and farmlands. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the downpour lasted many hours across the state between Saturday night and Sunday. Eyewitnesses claimed that the resultant flooding killed several people, including a pregnant woman though the claim could not be verified by relevant state authorities.

Ibe told NAN on Monday in Abakaliki that he lost more than 500 birds to the flood, saying the sales from the leftover would not help him to recoup his losses.

“I lost over 500 fowls when the flood submerged my poultry and the estimated value of loss is more than N1.3 million.

“I sell the birds at between N2, 000 and N2, 500 each and when you consider the overall damage to the poultry, the loss will be more than N1.3 million.

“My house and the fence around it were also submerged which made me to lose properties worth thousands of naira.

“My whole world has collapsed. I beg the government and well-meaning individuals for assistance because I don’t know where to start rebuilding my life,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Sebasatine Nwokpoku, who hails from Ebiaji in Ezza North Local Government Area, told NAN that the flood submerged bridges and roads which connected the council to Abakaliki Township.

“Pedestrians, especially those going to churches cannot access their destinations due to the submerged roads not to talk of vehicles which simply cannot move.’’

Meanwhile, Gov. David Umahi has commiserated with the victims and pledged his government’s assistance. He said: “There is much encroachment on flood channels originating from the two main rivers in the Abakaliki — Iyiokwu and Iyi Udene.

“The Ministry of Environment should take action against this immediately.

“The ministry should give notice to owners of structures situated along the river ways as the government would reclaim the area.

“We will ascertain the scope of contracts being executed by the Federal Government around the rivers and determine our level of intervention amid severe economic challenges.

“Whenever the flood recedes, the Commissioner for Works should deploy two excavators to expand the river banks as a temporary measure.

“We will also carry out an extensive study of the situation to determine the necessary action during the dry season’’.

The governor also directed occupants of some buildings located at Oraifite Street, Abakaliki to relocate within five days as the flood had weakened the buildings.

“The buildings can collapse at any moment as nothing practically is supporting them for safe habitation.

“The Commissioner for Environment should bring the buildings’ owners to my office by 1p.m. on Monday and collate the number of buildings across the capital city that is in such condition.

“It is better you think of relocation as your lives are precious to the government than any other consideration,’’ he advised.

In his remarks, Mr Ken Ozioma, the Executive Secretary, Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency (ESEMA), said that blocked drains across the state contributed to the devastating effect of the flood.

“Indiscriminate construction of buildings along the waterways also contributed to the flooding, adding that some ecological projects executed by the World Bank, especially on water channelling were of poor standard.’’

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