It is another season in which the rains trapped in the sky usually drop in torrents.
Unannounced, the cumulus cloud forms, gradually gathers momentum and spits to the world in precipitating torrents.
Sometimes, the clouds charge and subsequently change the atmospheric conditions in advanced notice of impending landfall.
Wild wind would blow across the land resulting in little drops, then heavy droplets as the Heavens continue to let loose.
Since the beginning of July, the rains have been pouring in, creating joy for some farmers and lamentations for others whose properties have come under the excruciating torments of the wily downpours.
Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, where a large number of the 7.2 million population reside, has been the major epicentre of the devastating impacts of the perennial floods.
Some people who drove private and tax cabs parked them along the major roads. Recharge cards sellers and POS dealers scampered into their hide-outs. And the rains came and floods followed. And the roads and streets became impassable.
This was the scenario on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 in Uyo. From Abak Road to Wellington Bassey Way end and the adjoining streets, there was massive flood. Some vehicles were tucked in the flood. Like elegiac drama, this was scene 1.
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, another rain cloud appeared. As the sky opened, most roads and streets and houses sitting on low plains in Uyo metropolis were sunk. Floods became the Lord of Manor taking over most major roads and preventing free traffic flow.
From Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Office of state Accountant-General, IBB Avenue, Mechanic Village, Abak-Manta-Ukpom-Pepsi Junction Road, surroundings of Urua Okpokpo bursting into Ikot Oku Ikono-Etinan Road, and adjoining streets were enveloped in floods. The detours of the newly inaugurated flyover at Ikot Oku Ikono were locked up as floods laid siege, scaring away many road users. This was another grimy scene of the menacing floods.
Other worst affected areas in Uyo metropolis include Atiku Abubakar, IBB Way, Urua Ekpa, Nelson Mandela, Itu Road, Church Road, Osongama Estate, Shelter Afrique, Nung Atte, Ekpri Nsukarra, Ifa sector up to Ifa Ikot Okpon Road, Mbiabong and other adjoining streets.
The massive flood water, checks by Straighnews roving reporters revealed, has caused untold hardships on residents across the state.
“It is always a perennial problem for us here because this time every year we are always been subjected to this kind of problem with our household things submerged in rains,” Mary Eyo, a resident of Atiku Abubakar Way laments.
“Two ladies were drowned in flood water along this Atiku Abubakar, about two years ago,” she recalled, adding that efforts to draw government attention to their plights failed to yield the needed dividend.
Determined to deflood the Itam axis and its environs, former governor Victor Attah had constructed Nkemba Erosion Trove to drive out floods that ‘terrorised’ residents in the area and other streets.
Similarly, former governor Godswill Akpabio had installed an underground pipe jacking system from Itam flyover that emptied into Mbikpong village in Ibesikpo Asutan, which ensured total re-channelisation of the waters, making that axis free of flood.
But Straightnews investigation showed that most homes around the pipe-jacking area, have suffered terribly as most of the waters are diverted to wreak havocs in homes and farmlands, forcing outcry from the local residents.
“In no time this entire area could be submerged by floods because of over-flow of water channels caused by the pipe-jacking system.
“Yes, the idea has brought relief to us but some other areas that the pipe-jacking system was installed have been seriously affected because several gullies and new channels forcefully created by the impacts of flood as the waters overflow the gutters,” Effiong Bassey, another residents laments.
Along the IBB Way, several vehicles were submerged in the last couple of days, forcing their owners to abandon them for thieves to vandalise.
“I was forced to abandon my car here last night when I ran into massive stagnant flood water that submerged my car to the roof.
“I came back to see my SUV in the morning vandalised, with the lighting facilities screwed out by thieves when the water ebbed,” Asian Udeme, an oil worker told Straightnews along IBB Way.
It was the problem that threatens to overwhelm the newly commissioned Ikot Oku Ikono flyover, which, few days before the commissioning was heavily flooded.
It was gathered that the surging waters overflowed their embankments to spill massively under the one-kilometre bridge.
The governor, who eventually inaugurated the bridge on Friday, July 16 conceived in 2019, alongside Nigerian former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was full thanks to God for holding back the rains for the ceremony not to be disrupted.
He, therefore, pledged to fix the adjoining roads that collapsed under the pressure of diversionary heavy duty vehicles that forced flooding in most of the areas including the precinct of the new flyover.
To mitigate flood problems on the metropolis, it was learnt the state government in conjunction with the World Bank, has begun the deflooding process.
The Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Sir Charles Udoh, had told correspondents that the World Bank has committed N10 billion to tackle the flooding problems in the state under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The state government, he said, has also committed N2 billion as counterpart funds to enhance the World Bank-Assisted erosion project that would ensure the deflooding of the metropolis and emptied the waters into Mbikpong in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.
It was learned that preliminary works including payment of compensation and other logistics from the N2 billion state government’s contribution had begun.
Despite the efforts to control erosion, large portions of Eniong Offot, Anua Offot and Uyo Village have been sunk by the menace with huge gullies created after heavy downpour.
Other local government areas with deep gullies are having their hearts in their hands as soon rains begin to drop pellets.
From some villages in Ini, Ikono, Etim Ekpo, Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, Mbo, Ibeno, Eastern Obolo, Esit Eket, Eket, Okobo, Itu, Ibiono Ibom to Uruan, among others, living close to river and Atlantic Ocean, the inhabitants are living in misery, and tears as floods ravage their farmlands and submerge their homelands.