An early morning downpour in Maiduguri on Saturday flooded many areas and residents found it very difficult to come out of their homes.
The areas affected included Jajeri, Ummarari, Ngarnam, Simari, London-Ciki, Customs, Dala, Gomari Airport, as well as Gomari Costain, Damboa road, Ruwan-Zafi.
Most access roads in the areas had been submerged, making it difficult for passage in and out of affected areas.
A cross section of residents said in Maiduguri that the rain was heavy and they did not make any arrangement for it.
Malam Bukar Wasala, a resident of Ruwan-Zafi, said that his house had been flooded.
Wasala said “the rain started gradually around 4.30 a.m as we were preparing for the early morning prayers but by 5.30 a.m., my house was already flooded, we had to evacuate our things to a friend’s place for safety.”
He added that the problem of flooding had been a recurring event in the area as there was no proper drains “and residents dump refuse anyhow they like.
“We face the problem of flooding every year in this area; sometimes; we have to evacuate our belongings to other places pending when the rains will stop before coming back.
“Our basic problem is the lack of drainage system in the area.”
Malam Garba Muhammad, a resident of Ummarari, said “the problem is that our area is not a government planned residential area; most people build their homes anywhere they wanted.
“Some of these houses are built on water channels, thereby blocking water passage.”
Also reacting, Malam Nasiru Surundi, the Sole Administrator, Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA), said government had put in place machinery to address the problem.
Surundi pointed out that the Agency had cleaned up all drains before the rainy season to prevent flooding.
He blamed the problem on residents dumping refuse into the drains, thereby blocking them.
He said “we took a precautionary step before the commencement of the rains. Initially, we cleaned up all drains but the problem is that people keep dumping refuse into water channels, thereby blocking water ways.”
He, however, added that the Agency had placed its workers on alert to clear any drains found blocked during the rains, stressing that “we will be on alert for any blocked drain; once there is blockage, we will move to the site and clear it.”
He said that BOSEPA had also cleared major water channels causing flooding in the state capital.
“We have addressed the issue of Bolori water channels linking to Ummarari and Ngarnam. The second issue is the one in Gwange, Bama road to Custom bridge.
“But the one that is normally giving us problem is that of 505 Estate area; it is not possible to address that one now because it has linkage with the water treatment plant.
“Once the water is released there is no way you can enter into the river channel to effect repairs,’’ Surundi said.
He noted that the Agency was working with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Action Against Flood, to provide lasting solution to the perennial flooding in the state capital.