By Ben Ngwakwe, Gombe
DAYS after Gombe State continues to reel under the devastating impact of a gully erosion that left no fewer than 200 houses damaged and farmlands worth millions of Naira washed away. The gully erosion, which hit Bogo community within the metropolis hardest, is not relenting despite efforts put in place by the state government to curtail its impact.
With their means of livelihood washed away by the destructive erosion, the natives of Bogo are crying out for help and relief. The Ward Head (Mai Anguwa) of Bogo, Alhaji Umar Bappah, told Arewa Voice that his people had been thrown into penury by the devastating erosion and left traumatised by the experience.
Bappah added that some of the natives were killed by the resultant flood that has completely overwhelmed the area.
He said having been living in the area for the past 24 years, he was shocked to see gully erosion eat deeper and deeper into his compound without any restraint.
“My compound is just five metres away from the rapidly advancing gully and my family is worried as to what to do since we have no other abode than this place we are staying,” he lamented while speaking to Arewa Voice.
The ward head said, however, that they had reported their misfortune to the state Works Commissioner and pleaded for urgent government intervention to save their lives and property. But the people are suffering the more as the encroachment of the area by gully erosion has created a safe haven for criminals to inhabit the abandoned and dreaded sites.
Arewa Voice gathered that as a result of the abandonment of the affected erosion sites dotting the length and breadth of the area, criminal elements have taken over those site and using them for anti-social activities such as drug peddling and consumption, and other dangerous activities. For this reason, Bappah said that the community has liaised with the police and some youths of the area to provide adequate security for the natives.
He also called on the Gombe State Government to come to the aid of the community by reconstructing the road destroyed by gully erosion. A widow residing in the area, Madam Grace, lamented that the gully erosion had destroyed over 200 houses and properties in the area, while the road linking them had been cut off by flood.
However, there is hope as the Gombe State Government has given assurance that it is working hard to contain all environmentally-challenged areas in the state with proper channeling of waste and storm water.
In 2022, the Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, earmarked the sum of N4.5 billion for environmental and forestry sub-sector of the economy and climate change.
The governor spelt out key strategies to contain environmental degradation under the state’s 10-year development plan spanning 2021-2030, which will also cover erosion control, deforestation and flood control. The state has also introduced the Gombe Goes Green and Environmental Restoration Programme which involves the planting of four million trees in four years, the construction of the Mallam Inna Kagarawal gully erosion with a World Bank-assisted Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project and the establishment of 22,000 hectares of woodlot in Kaltungo, Dukka,Balanga, Nafada, Funakaye, Biliri and Shongom.
Other interventions are the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing nurseries at Bogo and Kwadom that will provide maximum support to NEWMAP and the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources to ensure successful execution of gully erosion control projects in the state.