A move by the driver of a bus to brave flooding waters in a community near Abuja has led to the loss of two lives. One passenger jumped out of the vehicle to safety, while the fourth remains missing.
A similar incident in Abuja last year led to the death of a father, his son, and a daughter.
However, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has called on the residents to alert to the possibility of more flooding as the rainy season enters its peak in the coming months. It has also reiterated its constant call on residents to avoid illegal developments as well as dumping of refuse on water rights-of-way.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the supervising Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, according to a statement by spokesman, Cosmas Uzodinma, made this appeal when he visited to commiserate with people of Karshi over the recent flood disaster that occurred in their community on Saturday night.
He also conveyed his condolences to the families of the two from neighbouring Kokosu Community of Nasarawa State who were confirmed dead in the flood.
The Permanent Secretary used the occasion to ascertain the extent of damage caused by the flood. This, according to him, was with a view to stemming future occurrences of an incident, the scale and nature of which, according to residents, have never been witnessed in the area before.
“I have directed that our team of engineers should be dispatched to study the situation with a view to stemming future occurrence. From all indications this is a natural disaster. I am happy that our team is on ground for the search and rescue operations.”
Also speaking to newsmen, the Chief of Karshi, Alh. Ismaila Mohammed dispelled insinuations that the incident was caused by a burst dam, saying “the dam is still intact and still under construction. I thank the FCT Minister for his quick response in dispatching the FEMA team who have worked with local inhabitants since last night, to retrieve the bodies of the victims.”
According to the Chief, “this kind of flood has never been witnessed in this community. Weather has been very erratic. We, in the community would embark on measures to ensure that the roads are safeguarded during heavy rains until a permanent solution is found.”
Ambrose Umelelle 26 and Esther Aka 20, residents of Kokosu Community of neighbouring Nasarawa State lost their lives in the incident. These two were among the four in a vehicle swept away by the flood.
One of the passengers was however lucky as he was reported to have jumped out of the vehicle thus saving his life. A Search and Rescue team of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to search for the fourth passenger.
Briefing the Minister on the incident, the Acting Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, Mrs. Florence Wenegieme indicated that upon receiving the information, the Agency immediately arrived the location of the incident and swung into action.
The efforts yielded results when they recovered the bodies of the two dead early this morning, as well as the Toyota Siena bus they were travelling in.
He said, “we have gone as far as three kilometres into the waterway without seeing the body, the search continues.”
Mrs. Wenegieme also reported that the river bisecting the community and neighbouring Nasarawa State had risen above its banks on account of massive rains and consequent flood from the neighbouring hills overwhelming the box culverts and overflowing the roads.
Many of the road users had been forced to wait on the banks of the flood when the driver of the Siena wanted to try his luck.