The flood that resulted from a Sunday night rainfall has drowned a young man simply identified as Chukwudi in his basement apartment located by the edge of a narrow drainage between Nkpokiti and Presidential Road in Ogui Township, Enugu.
The diseased who had reportedly performed traditional rites and was preparing for a wedding with his fiancée, was said to be putting up in one of the underground rooms sandwiched under a block of flats constructed in obstruction to a channel through which waters running down from the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, and environs collate and empties into Asata River.
According to an eyewitness and a co-tenant in the compound, Mrs. Nkechi Eze, the flood from the blocked drainage into their compound had been persistent for over six years. It had on Monday last week wrecked havoc in the same compound with no life lost, but made some of the basement occupants to pack out from the apartment.
She said, “Even the girl and boy don’t sleep there again, but came to check their property and the rain started. The flood came and he was the one that came out telling people that the flood has come again and his fiancé and every other person came out, but he said he wanted to bring his properties out. He went in and didn’t come out again. There is a deaf and a dumb girl that occupies one of the apartments and was almost drowned but was rescued by those who went to help.
“The police came around 12am and started scooping the water out from the basement; a water draining machine was also brought and they worked from 12 to 5am this morning. All of us were outside, nobody slept, waiting to see that boy and at about 5am, his lifeless body was seen and the police came and took his corpse away. When the DPO came, he said no, that even an animal cannot live here let alone a human being.”
Another tenant in the compound blamed the recent increase in the flood in the area to the new development of properties around the drainage way which narrowed the drainage and made water overflow into their compound.
“This flood happens almost every year but this year’s flood is higher because of the new fence being constructed around the drainage. The water used to overflow that side of the new face but now they have blocked it and the water has to find another exit route,” the tenant said.
Head of Physical planning in Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, TPL Chinedu Ozochioke, said that the agency had marked the structures blocking the waterways for demolition, yet the developers remain defiant with their constructions.
He however disclosed that with the tragedy of the death of the young man who was about to wed with his fiancée, the agency has given 24 hours final notice to abate the nuisance against the drainage system.
Ozochioke said: “This incident was caused by developers who narrowed the waterway and when you narrow the waterway the velocity will increase and that was what led to the water rise that led to the degree of water into the basement; one thing led to the other and the young man died because of the pressure of water coming into the house.
“The manhole is too small to carry the storm water, and the area beside the bank is where people are dumping refuse and during rains, the refuse will block the flow areas. There are also shops sitting on top of drainages and we had made removal notices on them before now but by tomorrow we will commence appropriate evacuations, remove and open the waterways on both sides and take it down to Presidential Road. That will be a better solution to this problem.”
He advised residents to always report blockages to his agency so as to avert such ugly incidents.
The landlord of the property where the young man died, Sir Francis Ilo, who is said to be over 80 years old, said he was in shock and was unable to speak to newsmen about the incident.
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