Monday, 30 June 2014

Many missing as Apete makeshift bridge collapses

Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, experienced downpour at the weekend, culminating in a massive flooding, which killed no fewer than 15 persons in different parts of the ancient city.

The incident, which was similar to what the city experienced on August 26, 2011, also led to the destruction of homes and landed properties worth millions of naira.

THISDAY learnt that about 10 lives were lost at Apete due to the sudden collapse of make-shift bridge, which the people in the area had been using since the collapse of the main bridge on August 26, 2011.

It was also gathered that five other persons including three children of the same parents were found under the ruble of a Cherubim & Seraphim church, which the flood brought down when the Olodo River overflowed its bank.

As a result of the deaths recorded at the Apete Bridge, a group of irate young men yesterday stormed the workstation of the contractor currently reconstructing the Ijokodo-Apete road and the bridge linking the two communities in anger.

Consequently, the aggrieved youths destroyed equipment and property at the contractor’s station worth millions of naira.

Recounting the scale of damage incurred due to the incident, an Olodo resident, Mr. Fatai Osuolale, told THISDAY that a white garment church and some structures built few metres away from the river bank were submerged.

Osuolale said the river overflowed its bank and flooded houses around the bank, thus leading to the loss of property and five lives including three children of the same parents said to be under spiritual refuge in the church. He explained that the river “is named Egberi and its source is traced to Osun river. Inside the river, people regularly perform spiritual bath while others come to wash clothes, okada and other things.”

Osuolale said residents and good Samaritans “are still searching for the bodies of the victims. Only one has been found so far while a Nissan Micra swept off by the flood around Odan Village has been recovered from the river.”

On Apete’s incident, THISDAY learnt that the victims were part of the residents that fell from the makeshift bridge shortly after the rain. But an eyewitness said he was part of the team that rescued some people who fell into the river from the bridge.

The eyewitness said the makeshift bridge “has become extremely weak and a no-go- area for residents of the community because its base has been swept off.

“When the rain which started around 4.00 pm stopped, some of the residents decided to make use of the makeshift bridge and in the process fell into the river and were swept away.

“We heard the cry of people who fell into the river around 6:30 p.m. I decided to join the rescue team. We eventually succeeded in rescuing about six people while not less than 10 others were killed as a result.”

Consequently, the aggrieved youths in Apete and its environs protested the death of 10 persons who drowned on Saturday evening after a makeshift bridge collapsed.

The youths, violently, stormed the contractor’s workstation, therefore destroying caterpillars, office equipment and other property belonging to the company.

While the angry youths also broke into the work station and offices within, hundreds of residents in the area were waiting at the river bank for rescue operation to commence.

Some of the residents were pelting stones and other objects at a team of security personnel who stood at the Ijokodo end of the road to maintain order.

One of the security men, Mr. Bassey Etum employed by the construction company said he had to run for his life alongside five other colleagues when the irate youths earlier came on Saturday night.

Etum said: “After the river had overflowed its banks, residents at the community said people drowned because of the bridge that collapsed. They vented their anger on the company and destroyed our machines and equipment.

“They stole computers and other office equipment too. There were six security men here when they came Saturday night. They wanted to lynch us so we ran into a nearby forest. When we returned around 11 p.m., nothing was left untouched; the whole place had been vandalised.”

Monday 30 June 2014


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