By Emmanuel Aziken & Tony Edike
Enuguâ€”Southeast governors yesterday demanded the imposition of a state of emergency as a necessary step towards checking the erosion menace in the region.
The governors spoke separately on the second day of the Senate retreat with the theme, â€œThe Challenges of Gully Erosion in the Southeast,â€ just as erstwhile Chief Justice of the Federation,Justice Mohammed Uwais, advanced reasons election petition cases should be time-barred.
Governors Sullivan Chime of Enugu, Peter Obi of Anambra, Ikedi Ohakim of Imo and Theodore Orji of Abia State made the regionâ€™s quest for emergency intervention in the environmental degradation of the zone.
Governor Obi shocked the gathering with his revelation of how the Federal Government awarded rehabilitation contracts for sixteen non-existing erosion sites in Anambra State.
Calling for massive forestation programmes to ensure long term sustenance of ecological rehabilitation projects, the governors also drew the attention of the Senators to what they bemoaned as the extensive infrastructural problems in the zone.
Noting the ravage of gully erosion in the zone, Governor Chime, who identified 317 erosion sites in Enugu State in his remarks to the Senators, pleaded for federal intervention.
â€œThe South East is perching precariously at the mercy of gully erosion. Individual governments in the zone have taken many bold steps to prevent it, but our dwindling finances could not match the enormous funds needed to fight the menace.â€™â€™
In his address, Governor Ohakim, who revealed the existence of 460 erosion sites in Imo State, called for the erosion problems of the Southeast to be given the type of national attention accorded some other national problems.
â€œThe trend must not be allowed to impoverish our people,â€™â€™ the Imo Governor said, as he disclosed that his administration had awarded contracts for the rehabilitation of eleven erosion sites and planted one million trees to help check the menace.