Flood Leaves Michael Okpara University Students Stranded
While some communities in Nigeria are scared of being attacked by armed herdsmen or Boko Haram at night; somewhere in Abia state, the residents keep vigil against rainfall.
Students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state, and other residents of Umuariaga in Ikwuano Local Government Area have cried out for government's assistance in recovering some of their damaged property, documents and other personal effects.
This follows torrential rainfall that caused severe flooding in the area.
Some of students and residents who spoke to our correspondent blamed the incident on the construction of Umuariaga-Umudike road awarded by Senator Theodore Orji, which according to them, is being done shabbily.
The landlord of the building which harboured the students, Asomugha Vincent, decried the handling of the project by the contractor despite advice from residents.
"These students here are stranded, their houses are flooded.
"They graded this road sometimes last year, when the senator commissioned it and the students complained that since the road was graded from umudike junction, it has been causing a heavy flood.
"They met the contractor to pour sand here to prevent the water from entering their houses, but they neglected them.
"Today rain fell heavily, and the flood came in and washed off some of the buildings, destroyed their belongings and left them stranded."
Asomugha disclosed that the students had taxed themselves to raise some money to get sand to fill up the place to prevent the situation that eventually became their fate.
"What is responsible for the flooding is the failure of the contractors to do a decent job.
"They were cautioned by the students but they neglected them. Their major concern is to do a shabby work.
"Since it is a major contract awarded by a serving senator, we expected them to bring in machines to do a proper drainage but what they are doing is manual digging even when the students complained about it.
"If the drainage had gone through the right way, the water would not have overtaken their lodge.
"The students are displaced, they need compensation, their documents, everything lost, none of them could even enter their rooms.
"Govt should come to their aid."
A pregnant woman identified as Mrs. Uche lamented the loss of her property to flood waters.
"Imagine a pregnant woman trying to swim this dirty water.
"Most of the baby things I bought were lost, my credentials, school fees receipt, the worst part is that my date is already near and if I fall into labour now, I don't even know where to go.
"Senator Orji is a good person, I have heard about his scholarship and I am certain he is compassionate and should save our lives."
Another victim of the disaster, Chioma Samuel who almost got drowned inside her room said all her school fees receipts, food stuffs and personal belongings have been destroyed.
"I packed in here last December. I just came out of the bathroom and the next thing I saw was water everywhere.
"I just managed to get hold of the cloth I am wearing. My food stuff was destroyed, my books, laptops and everything.
"It is because of the gutter, where are we going to sleep, no cloth, no food."
A final year student, Nwokoma Chinedu described the experience as devastating;
"We talked to the engineers about the nature of this place whenever it rains.
"We told them to trip sands here so that the water can flow into the gutters, but they ignored us.
"I am a final year student, I have been in school for five years and yet nothing to show for it.
"I cannot do my clearance. I appreciate the senator for the road but proper things should be done and not subjecting poor students to hardship.
"We are not happy. They are digging the gutter with mere hand, I am sure it was not what the Senator asked them to do".
Thadeus Chukwuemeka, a shop owner around the area appealed for government assistance.
"This is my shop, all these are my properties that were damaged. I was away when the rain started. They called me, I came and saw my properties floating.
"I am sad, even though what brought the rain is a welcome development, I hope it will be done in the right way.
"If the drainage system was done before the work, may be we would have prevented this bad situation.
"I can't quantify my loss. It took me many years to get my shop to this level and I lost everything in less than three hours", he said.
When contacted, media adviser to Senator TA Orji, Ifeanyi Umere, regretted the development.
"We accept responsibility for the situation. For the past 20 years water has been entering that house. At the moment, I have mandated the liaison officer handling the road to go and find a way of redirecting the water out of the place.
Provisions are been made to address the situation, the intention of the project is to alleviate the suffering of the people and not to bring sufferings as insinuated." He told Bounce News.
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