Water in a Basket V: Tam knows best

Salaries haven’t been paid to civil servants in the last 9 months. Sometime during the penniless lull, *Tam decided her job at the Ministry of Agriculture was not quite the catch after all. In fact, she decided a job as a hotel manager was more worthy of her dedication.

So for a year, in a few months, Tam would have been working as a hotel manager. A 40 year old divorcee with a 14-year old daughter, Tam wasn’t very comfortable talking about herself, so we talked about her neighbour instead.

She told me about her neighbour who now has to stay on the IDP camp at Ultra Modern International market. She doesn’t see herself as “displaced” as her neighbour even though both of them have been sacked from their house in Anjusa.

“Whenever trucks are brought with food and relief materials, another truck comes to the camp to pack those materials without being distributed to the victims.”

It’s unclear how Tam knows all of this seeing as she won’t step foot on camp and this wasn’t the case when I witnessed a drop-off at the market a couple of days later. But “who knows?” as Tam said to me when I challenged her.

Tam also said even the Secretary to the State Government was also affected by the flood and a visit to the SSG’s home was the only time the State Governor came close to any of the affected areas “Rumour has it it was so bad that he used boat as a means of transportation to the house.”

I visited Tam’s residential area in Anjusa where I met with Mr. Nathaniel, 60, a retiree. Mr. Nathaniel is one of Benue’s many rice farmers. He lost a whole building to the flood.


“They are sharing food. They should be making more drainages. If they don’t it will happen again like it has happened before”.

Benue, a State which should be famous for putting food on tables across the country has managed, in under a few weeks, to gain an unforgettable reputation as a the flooded State. It’s hard to truly say, with the wreckage sprewn across town, what the true state of things were before August 26.

One thing that is clear, even to a newcomer like myself, is the absence of proper drainage systems in the too many parts. Would there be another flood when it rains heavily again? Are they prepared for that? Would the general public come to the aid of the people if there is another occurrence?

“We can only pray and we hope and not to experience such again.”


Read the previous instalment in this series:

Water in a Basket I: No one is even talking about rebuilding our homes yet

Water in a Basket II: Susan is too distressed to be stressed.

Water in a Basket III: Sewese’s fish business is sinking

Water in a Basket IV: Relief is here, more to come



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