• Says 40% of Anambra landmass under threat
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Governor Charles Soludo has rushed to Abuja to seek help in containing stunning erosion in Anambra State, appealing to the Federal Government and development partners to come to the rescue of his state.
According to him, between 30% and 40% of Anambra land is threatened by erosion and other ecological problems.
Sunday Vanguard had reported, last week, that Onitsha in Anambra State was battling erosion horrors occasioned by heavy floods.
“One of the institutions worst hit is the Metallurgical Training Institute, MTI, sited in the ancient town”, the report had said.
“Somehow this national monument is among structures on the verge of being washed away by floods.
“Sunday Vanguard learnt that what is of major concern at the institute is that erosion has destroyed two hostels and part of the institute’s fence. Also MTI’s main link road has been destroyed and washed away”.
Soludo, who met Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, four days after the report, said the state was facing serious ecological crisis.
While noting that erosion had become a matter of a state of emergency in Anambra, which the state’s entire budget for ten consecutive years will not be sufficient to remedy, he said only an urgent intervention by the Federal Government and development partners could save the situation.
He, however, disclosed that the state government had commenced steps towards introducing better environmental awareness among the people, saying it was targeted at limiting factors that worsen the erosion problem.
“The environment is our number one existential threat, other than security, and Anambra is the erosion capital of Nigeria”, Soludo said.
“Perhaps, you might know that about 30% to 40% of our land is under threat of erosion.
“There’s no other state like Anambra when it comes to erosion. Even last week, somewhere between Ezinhifite/Osumenyin Road was cut off again and several…huge gullies everywhere, Obosi, Oko, Nanka, Aguolo, everywhere, there’s erosion menace.
“Like I said, while our landmass is shrinking massively due to erosion and so on, it’s far, far beyond the capacity of a state government to deal with.
“Even if you were to sink the entire budget of the state into dealing with the gully erosion in the state, even if you were to sink all of them for the next ten years, it will still be like a drop in the ocean.
“This is an area where the state government wishes to partner effectively with the Federal Government and the development partners to deal with that. It is a state of emergency, with regards to erosion.
“And, of course, we’re also promoting this concept of responsible citizenship on the part of our people, to be able to take some responsible steps.
“We are providing some regulations; people controlling the runoff water from their homes, they don’t just pipe them and get them off on the streets.
“Of course, they must go somewhere, contain it within you your place. Building controls; it will designate drain versus buildable areas, and so on and so forth.
“Then of course, trying to tackle these things with early warning signals, and we’ll begin to tackle them.
“Clean up our drainages and make sure we channel runoff waters down to rivers and so on and so forth and not let them percolate on the road or try to go to unwanted places and so on and so forth.
“We’re doing quite a whole lot. There are a few of them that have become like where the roads have been cut off, for example.
“We have no choice but to try to do something, but ultimately, to deal with the kind of erosion menace we have in Anambra will require quite very active, massive resource injection by the Federal Government”.