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By Olakunle Olafioye
For the second consecutive Sundays hundreds of worshippers at Arepo and Fadunsi communities in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State will be denied the opportunity of worshipping in their various churches while several others are likely to conduct their weekly services under unfavourable conditions following the penultimate Friday’s destruction of about 10 worship centres by rainstorm in both communities.
A violent rainstorm had swept through the some communities, leaving in its wake devastation and sorrow as houses, fences, shops, churches and mosques were pulled down while roofs of several other buildings were blown off.
Several residents whose houses were destroyed by the storm were forced to take refuge elsewhere, just as business activities of many shop owners have also been put on hold as the victims were seen grappling with repair works.
Eyewitnesses in the two worst hit communities informed Sunday Sun that no fewer than 800 people were affected by the rainstorm, which is estimated to have affected over 200 structures.
“It wasn’t the rain per se that caused the destruction. It was the accompanying storm. I can say that was the first time I would witness such incident in my life. The storm came with fury pulling down fences, tearing off buildings and blowing off roofs of many houses. More disturbing is the fact that that was the first rain of the year in this area.
“By the rough estimation we have made so far, I think more than 200 structures were affected by the storm and if our assumption that each of the structures houses an average of four persons is anything to go by, it means that those affected by the storm will be in the region of 800. But I need to say that the effect of the rainstorm was felt more in Fadunsi community than what was witnessed in Arepo,” a resident who gave his name as Mr. Femi Oguntolu told Sunday Sun.
When our correspondent visited the communities last Monday repair works were seen going on on several of the affected structures.
In Arepo community, two churches, a Cherubim and Seraphim church and a Penticostal church were reduced to rubble by the rainstorm, making it impossible for worshippers in the affected churches to conduct their worship service. Some residents also claimed that the storm blew off a mosque while several other worship centres were also affected.
A similar scenario also played out in Fadunsi community where a Celestial Church was pounded to rubble by the storm, which also damaged the adjoining buildings.
A resident in the area told Sunday Sun that the development had forced residents of the buildings to take refuge elsewhere while worship services have since ceased to hold in the church.
A fish seller, who claimed to have lost her three shops, which were under construction to the storm told Sunday Sun that she was planning to roof the shops in May before they were pulled down by the raging storm.
“I have been building the shops for over four years now. My plan was to do the roofing in May so that I wouldn’t have to hawk again but look at the condition of the shops now. Everything is in ruins, meaning that I will still have to continue pounding the streets, hawking,” she lamented.
Sunday Sun also gathered that the Friday, March 10 disaster also wreaked havoc in Oyero, a neigbouring community where a major fish farmer was said to have lost an investment estimated in several millions as the rainstorm pulled down the fence of the farm, making it possible for the fish to escape after the ponds overflowed their banks.