Inside Abuja

Outrage as ‘tsunami’ hits Trademore Estate

Last week, one of the biggest privately developed mass housing schemes in Abuja, Trademore Estate, located in Lugbe District, was terribly hit by flood. CALEB ONWE reports.

 

Residents, who witnessed the devastation caused by the angry water, described it as a tsunami. The flood swept through Trademore, Light Gold, Wisdom Estates and even some other parts of Lugbe community.

 

It killed four persons, including a senior staff of the Department of State Security ( DSS), washed away 26 vehicles and also affected about 166 buildings. It was not the first, nor the second time that the water would ventilate its disenchantment and frustration on the people.

 

In fact, the flooding in that area has become a recurring decimal. Director General, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Abbas Idris, who gave the official account of the incident, said the rescue operations began from September 9 to 12 up to September 13.

 

According to him, the dead bodies of the victims have been recovered and handed over to their various families for burial. Idris said: “Also, over 26 vehiclesincluding an articulated towing van were swept away by the flood. Besides, a tarred road in Trademoore Estate was completely washed away as a result of the strength of the flood water.

 

“These losses are a summary of the impact of the flood on the affected locations. In total, 166 houses were affected. The Agency is still estimating the volume of losses suffered as a result of this flood.

 

“In light of this unfortunate incident, I wish to convey the deepest sympathies of the Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory- Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello, to the residents of Trademoore Estate, Light Gold Estate, Wisdom Estate, Lugbe Community, affected individuals and families- including those of surrounding communities, over the loss of lives and property.”

 

Causes of the perennial flood Residents, who are faced with this challenge almost on a yearly basis, have cried out, accusing both the government and the private estate developers of distorting town planning rules and regulations, thereby provoking the flood.

 

They said the developers in collaboration with some unscrupulous government officials have compromised urban and regional planning regulations, resulting into building houses on water ways.

Engr. Sadiq Shabdah, who lives in one of the estates around the environs, noted that most of the houses were built on buffer zones, green areas and directly on water channels.

 

According to him, having sold out the houses to off- takers who now occupy them, the developers are in dilemma about what to do next.

 

“Both the government and the developers have been scratching the surface of the matter. If they actually want to solve this annual problem of flood, they should remove all the buildings standing on water ways. Expanding the drainages is not useful enough when the source of the water is still blocked,” he said.

 

Chairman, Trademore Phase 2 Estate, Mr. Uchechukwu Moses, blamed the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the agony of the residents. Moses alleged that the administration, through its agents allocated water channels to developers to build on without considering the fact that a time will come when water will want

 

 

to demand for its right of ways. He lamented that residents have been subjected to terrible losses, because relevant government agencies have long neglected to do the needful. According to him, before any development takes place in Abuja, approval is usually sought and gotten. He alleged that government knows the solution to the problem, but has refused to do it.

 

Moses said: “What happened was beyond imagination.

 

Unfortunately, properties were destroyed and lives were lost. The major cause in a nutshell is about drainage. “For some years now, Trademore Estate has been consistently flooded. Now the question is: Where is the flood coming from? The incident on Sunday made us understand it was coming from somewhere. Now government should look at it properly.

 

“Government has all the information. So if there are houses built on a flood plain, who gave such approval? We all know that in this country, there is no way a developer will start any project without passing through approval. “So, if there houses on the water plains, who gave the approval? Government should go ahead and do the needful.”

 

Solution to the flooding Inside Abuja gathered that the FCT Administration will soon storm the affected estates with its bulldozers to demolish structures built on flood ways and areas not originally approved for buildings. Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, Abass Idriss, had also advised residents of the Estate to start relocating as heavier floods are expected in the territory in the coming weeks.

 

He recommended that all parties involved in the illegal approval and development of buildings in flood ways should be prosecuted. Idris said the administration was left with no option than to apply the Lokogoma strategy which has ensured that the area no longer experience flooding.

 

Acting Executive Secretary, of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Zaliha’u Ahmed, has also expressed worries that the flooding has remained a reoccurring decimal because of distortion of town planning regulations and procedures.

 

Ahmed said the FCDA was considering the option of reporting town planners who compromise rules with developers to professional bodies for some punitive measures.

 

Ahmed disclosed this when she received the National President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Olutoyin Ayinde and the President of Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), Ishaku Muktar Kura who were on a courtesy visit.

 

She expressed displeasure over the activities of some professionals who often collaborate with developers to abuse extant rules. She said: “I assure you, I will make everything possible to investigate and both TOPREC and NITP together with all other professional bodies will get the report.

 

“I assure you that any professional involved, not only the planners, even other professions, I will make sure that their regulatory bodies are given the report so that we will forestall and save lives and property moving forward.”

 

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