By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”VICE Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Boniface Egboka has predicted that more communities in the South East geoâ€“ political zone are likely toÂ lose their homes and farmlands to gully erosion during this yearâ€™s rainy season because no deliberate effort had been made to check the menace.
Egboka, who is a professor of geology regretted that despite all the attention being drawn to the issue by the affected communities, the State and Federal Governments, including theÂ international community appear not to be taking the matter serious, adding that the resultant effect is that fellow Nigerians are daily losing their homes and becoming refugees in their own country.
â€œErosion in the South East has become a major ecological disaster that requires full Federal Government attention, as well as more seriousness on the part of the affected states and local governments. At the rate it is going, many communities in the zone will lose their homes to gully erosion this rainy season and that is why the zone should be declared erosion disaster area immediately for adequate attention to be paid to the menace,â€ he said.
According to him, while efforts should be made to stop the development of new erosion sites, there is need to check the existing ones, adding that international communities should also be approached to render the necessary assistance.
He regretted that subsequent administrations in the country had not paid serious attention to the gully erosion menace as was done in the case of desert encroachment in the North and the coastal erosion in Lagos, recalling that the only noticeable effort was made at the Aguluâ€“Nanka area in Anambra State and at Okwudo in Imo State during the regime of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
While commending the Governors of the South East states for bringing up the issue during their recent meeting with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, he urged members of the National Assembly and Ministers from the zone to continue to mount pressure on the relevant authorities until something positive was done.