By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU- WITH the rainy season at its peak, most landscapes are giving in to degradation in most parts of Enugu State, same as other states in the South-East with porous soil formations.
Worst affected places in the state are road sides that are being cut off due to either poor or complete lack of drainage on the sides.
There are numerous sites of such degradation but prominent among them are the Enugu end of the Enugu-Onitsha road, particularly along the 15 kilometres Abakpa Junction-9th Mile section of the road which the Federal Government neglected until it’s now about to cut-off.
Travelling the short distance between Enugu and 9th Mile is a nightmare, not just for the road that is impassable but for the fear of skidding into deep gullies that have chopped off major portions of the road.
At Ekulu bridge, just behind 82 Division Abakpa Barracks, is an erosion gully that is not only risky to commuters but is also a threat to the bridge that serves as a connector for Abakpa and the two lanes of the federal highway.
At Ugwu Onyeama proper, a section of the road with undulating hill formation where coal was mined, the portion is almost cut-off with more than 60 per cent of one lane barricaded to avert tragedy occuring there.
An alternative route to avoiding Ugwu Onyeama which is the Milikin Hill-Ngwo Road is also being threatened by the same erosion despite the recent rehabilitation of the colonial road by Enugu State Government.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, however, went back to the site to check the threatening portion and the road is presently being made safe for passage.
In a similar situation, even within the Enugu City are some forms of degradation threatening establishments such as industrial complexes.
At Rico Industrial site at Ngenev near Coal Camp, massive gully is about to sack part of the industrial complex, with Chairman of the Group, Chief Eric Chime calling on all authorities to come to its aid.
But the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, said it’s not an emergency agency that rushes to urgently required sites for salvation.
While agreeing that all the erosion sites in the state required urgent attention, including the Enugu-Onitsha highway, NEWMAP regretted that the process of its intervention takes time.
Enugu State coordinator of NEWMAP, Mr. Egechukwu Obetta said that despite the protocol involved before its intervention, it has done much work in the state and named sites where it has done enormous works to include Ajali Water Works erosion site, Udi-Ozalla, Imiliki, Onuiyi Nsukka and Ohom Orba erosion sites.
Obetta after visiting the new erosion sites made barricade sign at the dangerous gully that has entered into the Enugu-Onitsha highway at Ekulu bridge behind 82 Division.
He stated that Enugu State Government has paid over N200 million counterpart fund to enable the state source World Bank NEWMAP facility to combat further degradation in the state.
Obetta disclosed that because of the counterpart fund it paid, the state was able to commence work at Umuavulu-Abor erosion site among other sites it has been working on.
Obetta said: “Erosion is closing in on all our roads and people want NEWMAP and the Federal Ministry of Works to do something about them because they are all emergency situations.
“As NEWMAP, we take proactive measures to respond to erosions. We take damage control and have less time for proactive analysis like we just had in Nsukka.
“Erosion projects are gigantic projects and that is the reason why we’ve been able to complete only two projects in the state but our major impendement which was counterpart fund, has been resolved.”
Obetta also hinted about four fingers of heavy gullies in Ngwo community, noting that an edifice is about being submerged at Amauzam-Ngwo.
On the perennial Nsukka flood which has consumed may lives due to large quantity of rainfall, Obetta said that a pool that would look like a lake is being designed for Nsukka to serve as a collection centre instead of channeling all the water through long distances that brings about the flood.