37-year-old Sa'adu Abubakar Asha from Monguno Local Government of Zamfara State told SaharaReporters that he was still trying to come to terms with the tragedy that befell him last Sunday night when he lost all eight members of his family to a flood that swept through Bakin-Iku village in Suleja Niger State.
During an interview with our correspondent, the tea seller, popularly known as (Mai Shai), said he would not forget the horrible incident. He recounted the ordeal of watching helplessly as the flood swept away his six children and two wives.
Describing himself as traumatized, Mr. Asha said the flood caught them unawares while they were fast asleep and submerged his house. According to him, his family’s five-bedroom apartment was flooded, recalling how he urged his wives and children to quickly move out of the house.
He said the flood’s massive force made it impossible to escape, adding that his family members were trapped in one room and no help came their way.
“We started praying Ina Lilahi Bilahi Laina Bilahi Alahi rajiun (“From God we came, from God we return”),” he said.
He added: “I was holding the hand of one my kids and we were covered with water, though I could not see her. At this point I didn’t know the location of my two wives and other seven children because everywhere was dark. One of my wives just had a baby.”
The local tea seller said he found it difficult to maintain his balance as a result of the flood, adding that he finally disengaged his hand from his daughter. “I shouted for help but nobody was around to help me,” he said.
Mr. Asha stated, “The water took me out but I was fortunate to hold on to the branch of a tree where I later managed to climb a small rock.” He explained that he recovered the lifeless bodies of three children and their mother the following morning, but that other members of his family had been swept away.
Mr. Asha, who has lived in Bakin-Iku for fifteen years, urged the government and well meaning Nigerians to come to his aid as he had lost everything on earth.
The deadly flood that took away his family had ravaged four communities in Tafa Local Government area of Niger State near Suleja, killing eighteen persons and submerging numerous houses.
The Vice-Chairman of Tafa Local Government Area, Samuel Yaro, blamed the flood on the Bwari Dam that was opened the same night it rained heavily. “This water is from the Bwari Dam and there are lots of blockages on the water. As you can see, this spot where we are standing had houses, but they were carried away by the flood,” said Mr. Yaro.
He added: “We are still taking inventory of the damage. Concerning death toll, there are a lot of conflicting reports. But for now, most of the survivors are staying with friends and relatives. So far, bodies of three children have been recovered and buried the same day.”