Senate raises alarm over erosion menace in Edo, Anambra States

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, raised the alarm over the devastating havoc wrecked by erosion in Edo and Anambra States respectively.

In three separate motions, senators called for urgent interventions by the Federal Government to address the issues and save the lives of people in the affected areas.

Senator Monday Okpebholo, who represents Edo Central senatorial district, in his motion titled, “Urgent Need for Erosion Control in Edo Central Senatorial District to Save Lives and Properties”, said the flooding menace has put many communities under the constant threat of erosion devastation, resulting in massive gully erosions, flooding and road devastations.

According to him, “The Okene-Auchi-Benin expressway, a major road infrastructure in Nigeria began to fail at the Ekpoma axis owing to several gully erosions. The Ewu-Uromi-Agbor Road corridor has also experienced similar fate in Uromi axis. Nigerians in Irrua, Ekpoma, Uromi, Ewu and other communities have fled their homes or got their access roads damaged owing to the erosion problems.

“In June, two persons died after being swept away from their homes in Ujoelen, Ekpoma. A school girl died two years ago in Efandion, Uromi, on her way to school due to the uncontrollable flooding. It is difficult to construct roads to Udo community because of the wild erosion gullies. This trend is all over the area

“The highway road projects in Edo central face the risk of being damaged even before they are completed, as a result of which the country may just be losing hundreds of millions of naira because of the natural disaster. The cost of interventions in erosion disaster is too weighty for local and state governments to bear.

“We urge for the collaboration of federal agencies, namely; the Federal Ministry of Environment, Ecological Fund Office and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing towards tackling the menace of erosion devastation in Edo Central Senatorial District.

Senator Victor Umeh, who represents Anambra Central senatorial district, in his motion, titled, “Urgent Need to Control the Erosion Ravaging Onitsha-Oba Section of the Onitsha-Owerri Federal Highway in Anambra State,” warned of severe consequences if the issues are not addressed.

According to Senator Umeh, “We note with dismay the devastating effects of ravaging gully erosion and landslide on Onitsha-Owerri Federal Road, between Electrical Parts Market and Metallurgical Training Institute, Obosi (Idemili North L.G.A) and Oba Junction near Rojenny Games Village in Idemili South L.G.A – along Onitsha-Owerri Federal Highway, all within Anambra Central Senatorial District of Anambra State.

“One lane of the affected road has been cut off by the gully erosion at the Oba junction with z the second lane under serious threat of imminent collapse while buildings and factories within the vicinity are on the verge of collapsing into the gully.

 “The erosion and landslide are creating traffic gridlock along the sections of the Onitsha-Owerri Highway.

“If the menace of gully erosion and landslide is not urgently controlled, those sections of the road will completely cave in, thus leading to total disconnection of the highway with attendant severe consequences and cutting off of vehicular movement to Imo, Abia, Akwa lbom, Rivers and Cross River States.

“Onitsha Owerri federal highway is a gateway to business activities and other relationships between the Western States and South East and South-South States. The magnitude of the menace is beyond the control of the State Government.

“We urge the Federal Government to direct the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to commence repairs and re-construction of the affected parts of the Onitsha~Owerri Federal road particularly, the sections between Upper Iweka round about in Onitsha and Onitsha-Owerri in Idemili South L.G.A. of Anambra State which span about 6 Kilometers,” he stressed.