Flooding: Residents of Trademore Estate count losses

OVER a hundred families were affected by a flash flood in Trademore estate in the Lugbe area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday, June 23, after an intense rainfall that lasted for about 3 hours.

Water surged into homes and businesses, forcing the residents to abandon their belongings and scamper for safety.

This is the fifth flood incident in the estate since 2014 and, according to some residents, the worst of them all.

“The water got very close to the ceiling of my store,” a resident, Nafisat Abutu said, pointing at the brown lines over the window level. 

Nafisat is a 24-year-old salesperson at an electrical gadget store on Lugard Street, Phase 1. She said she was alone and terrified when the flood came.

“If one of estate security had not come to rescue me, I might have drowned in the water,” she says. “Because of the level of the water, there was nowhere I could go, nothing I could do. I was so terrified that, at some point, I started crying. 

“We lost goods that cost millions as a result of the incident. It’s a devastating experience.”

Some of the goods left in Nafisat’s store.

When The ICIR visited the estate, the water had receded, but the ground was still wet. There were cracked buildings and broken walls, with debris scattered everywhere. And the residents are still dealing with the devastating impact of the flood. 

Building broken by flood in Trademore

Residents who spoke to The ICIR said about three persons died in the flood – one man and two women.

Jacob Sule, a resident in Phase 2, said he is still occupied with sorting his properties and cleaning his apartment. He had recently moved into the estate, unaware that it was prone to flooding or had experienced flooding in the past.

He explained that his entire property was affected by the water. His clothes, shoes, home appliances and gadgets. “I lost so much that I can’t count them all,” he said.

“I just learnt that this is a recurring crisis.The authorities need to contain this problem. It was a very nasty and bad experience. Psychologically, it is disturbing. I hope it never rains again.”

One of the residents The ICIR reached out to was devastated by the experience and unwilling to speak as a result. 

His flat was submerged by the flood. The ICIR observed that his sitting room had been emptied out as most of his properties were wrecked in the flood. 

“I can’t talk now. Maybe later. There is nothing to talk about. I have three cars that I cannot drive, and three cameras that I can’t work with. What is there to say? Ma, please just leave,” he said angrily. 

Why flooding in Trademore

Residents who spoke to The ICIR say the flooding is due to a poor drainage system present in the estate. 

According to Victor, a resident who has lived in the estate for over a decade, the flood is not totally a natural crisis but a result of the sub-standard drainage system. 

“Because of the slope in Trademore and there’s a subpar drainage system that is blocked around the area, the slope area gets easily flooded. The drainage is blocked too,” he said.

“This is not the first flood in Trademore but this is worse because the water flowing from several estates in Abuja, get to this point and cannot flow properly.”

Harold Idemudia, a member of the estate board of trustees, also affirmed this, noting that the challenge is beyond the capacity of the developer. 

According to him, water from nine different districts is channelled through the small bridge by the gate of the estate. And flows down to the airport road, then to Gurara estate.  

He pointed out that should the flow be disrupted, the bridge in Trademore will be affected. 

“We have only three cells here for water passage which is too small for the quantity of water channeled here. In 2014, government agencies came together, and certain issues were identified. 

“They were categorised under internal issues and external issues. All the internal issues that were asked to be done by the developer was done such as extending the bridge, erecting retaining walls and dredging of the waterway but the external things are the responsibility of the government.”

‘We are paying mortgage’

The Trademore Estate chairman, Phase 2, Stella Okuteh, has kicked against the demolition of houses in the estate.

Earlier in the year, 30 of the houses marked for demolition were pulled down by the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Agency said this was to reduce the risk of flooding and prevent loss of lives and damage to property, especially during the rainy season.

However, Okuteh rejected the Agency’s position, stating that demolishing the area is an ineffective way to resolve the problem. 

“Demolition will not solve the problem. If they demolish this place, other houses will still get flooded,” she said. 

“Trademoore is not the only estate affected. The government should fix the problem. Trace the water, build better drainages.”

Okuteh disclosed that houses in the estate were built by the Federal Mortgage Bank (FMB) through Platinum Mortgage Bank, and many of the estate residents are civil servants who have been paying back the mortgage loan for years. 

“The houses here own by the Federal Mortgage Bank through Platinum that built this house. Many residents here are civil servants who are still paying mortgages to the government.

“Are you saying the government body did not inspect this place before building? If they don’t fix the problem, the people in the estate should stop paying the mortgage. They are paying back the loan and you want to demolish their house?

“We won’t allow any demolition here,” she said.

FCTA declares Trademore disaster zone

Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has declared the estate a disaster zone.

The FCTA promised to take urgent action to stop further damages, loss of lives and properties.




     

     

    The permanent secretary of the FCTA,Olusade Adesola, disclosed this while assessing the area.

    Adesola stated that a task force on flood mitigation, consisting of heads of relevant agencies in the FCT, would evaluate the situation and suggest remedial actions.

    “Having seen the extent of the flooding, we declare the Trademore area a disaster zone that needs immediate action to remedy further damages and loss of lives and properties.

    “This is part of steps to address the incessant flooding at the Trademore Estate. I want to assure residents that adequate steps will be taken to forestall further damages to properties and loss of lives to flooding at the estate.”

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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