Green Movement - Newsreel


Fed Govt Releases N10 Billion to Fight Anambra Erosion
 - Senator Okonkwo

Senator Annie Okonkwo

Anambra Central Senatorial Zone

The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Annie Okonkwo, has said that about N1 trillion would be required to curb the gully erosion menace in the state. Okonkwo, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Environment, also disclosed that the Federal Government has released the sum of N10 billion to fight erosion in the state.

In a recent news release published by a major Nigeria national daily newspaper, Vanguard, Senator Okonkwo said he would ensure that some of the worst erosion sites in his senatorial zone, like those at Ojoto, Umuoji, Nnobi and Enugwu Ukwu, were in the current federal budget. He also said that some stakeholders were planning to increase awareness on the problem of erosion by taking the matter outside the country to attract international attention.

The programme, he stated, was being packaged by some groups of people and corporate organisations to enable people understand the magnitude of the problem.

"We can't continue like this", declared the business tycoon turned politician.






Steep cliffs of this advancing gully edge used to be farms, foundations of homes and groves for the cultivation of economic trees. Inadequate implementation of practical storm-water control regimen in the watershed means that this erosion gully shall continue to expand during each rainy season.





Structures, including residential and commercial houses, fall into the expanding gully..

Umuchiana Ekwulobia erosion gully expanded and severed federal highway in September 2006.






Inadequate remediation work at floor of this new gully was part of state government's project which has already consumed hundreds of millions of naira. Gully head is still being fed with storm-water torrents that originate from nearby communities in higher elevations of the watershed. Nothing is being done to check random storm- water discharge all over Anambra state.









One finger of a major erosion gully in Ideani expanded to undermine the foundation of a village hall. Entire area has been deserted as homes, farmlands and economic trees are swallowed by an ever widening erosion gully. Storm water feeding this gully originates from newly built road that crosses the town.




Remaining wall of collapsed former Village Hall in Ideani town, Idemili North LGA

Senator Okonkwo said, "right now, what we are doing on the erosion sites are palliative measures and it is because of those problems that I brought the Minister of Environment to the state recently".

"We cannot continue watching the buildings of the citizens of Anambra State being submerged. We cannot continue witnessing the lives of our people being terminated on daily basis by erosion. We cannot continue living like this forever, and that is why we want to tackle it headlong.", Senator Okonkwo continued.

He explained that he had not abandoned the idea of launching a N100 billion erosion fund which he announced earlier, adding, emphatically, that the global launch being planned by these groups and organisations had become more important now.

New roadside gully at Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA, emerged overnight after heavy downpour in early 2010 rainy season.

Reacting to the revelation that N10 billion have been released by the Federal Government to fight Anambra erosion menace, the WIEF President/CEO, Dr. Okenwa Nwosu, noted that what is missing in the state at this very moment is a coherent plan for deploying mobilized resources for optimal outcomes. The Anambra government, under the Obi administration, had developed a realistic plan of action which has been shelved for almost three years for undisclosed reasons. The state government is also in possession of the report of a UN HABITAT study on structure plans for Anambra cities which is currently collecting dust in office cabinets in Awka. Highlights of that study report include important suggestions on planned land utilization which can help to assure that protection of very sensitive ecosystems is part and parcel of overall development strategy for the state.

Leader of the premier environmental NGO in the Southeast observed that premature release of funds by the Federal Government before clear delineation about how they would be deployed in addressing the erosion conundrum has not worked well in the past for Anambra state. "Hundreds of millions of naira were recently expended supposedly for stopping the advance of Ekwulobia erosion gully into the densely populated part of Anambra state but, almost four years later, storm water discharge still continues to feed the gully site from higher elevations in neighboring communities", Dr. Nwosu noted. "A solution that can work effectively", the WIEF boss emphasized, "must include involvement of the entire population inhabiting the watershed from where the erosion gully is constantly being fed with storm-water runoff".

When asked about the best way to deploy the N10 billion reportedly released, Dr. Nwosu said, "the Obi administration should first have the Anambra House of Assembly (HOA) pass a new legislation to specifically back the government's policy plan on erosion and flood control in the state as contained in the draft document presented publicly by Governor Peter Obi during WIEF's inaugural seminar/workshop in August 2007 in Awka The plan presented in this document has adequate grassroots involvement in implementation of its programs".

"What must not happen", Dr. Nwosu cautioned, "is to throw a huge sum of public funds to fight erosion without a clear understanding of how to prioritize implementation in order to get the intended result of arresting erosion menace in Anambra and rest of ground zero. WIEF is willing and ready to collaborate with both the government and civil society in deriving practical and efficient means for putting a sustainable stop to the menace of erosion in Anambra".

The WIEF chief executive, who is a medical doctor, expressed gratitude for Senator Okonkwo's efforts and for the Federal Government's appreciation of the urgency with which control of runaway erosion crisis in Southeast Nigeria must be addressed.

Random quarrying, as shown in picture, engenders widespread soil erosion and gully formation downstream 





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