Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Worried by the devastating activities of erosion menace in his constituency, the member representing Bende North state constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Nnamdi Ibekwe, has called for a declaration of state of emergency on erosion in the area.
The call is coming days after the PDP lawmaker said that erosion sacked some villages in Umuenyere Alayi Community in Bende Local Government Area.
Addressing newsmen in Umuahia over the latest incident, the lawmaker who decried the threat posed by erosion in the area called for quick Government intervention
According to him, over five houses were washed away by the latest incident and farm lands and crops worth millions of Naira destroyed.
“Many people now live as refugees in their ancestral community,” the lawmaer lamented.
Hon. Ibekwe said there are over 100 active erosion sites in the constituency alone with about 20 posing existential threat to the people.
He identified Umuenyere Alayi, Oluibina Igbere, Ezi Igbere, Amekpu Item and Okafia as the epicenters of the menace.
“Over five houses have been destroyed, farmlands the crops seriously affected; many people can no longer farm because their farm lands have been seriously ravaged,” he added.
“It’s an emergency situation because when people can no longer access their homes built with their life savings, it’s a disaster.”
He also called on the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and its state counterpart to quickly send relief materials to the affected constituents to help cushion the effects of the disaster.
He noted that he had initiated steps to ameliorate the sufferings of the victims but pleaded for the intervention of both the state and Federal Governments.
The lawmaker who said he would in the coming days embark on sensitisation of all schools in Bende North to educate students and pupils on the dangers erosion and some of the preventive and corrective measures to mitigate the impacts.
He further challenged the Nigerian Government to explore ways like the Netherland to convert erosion challenges into opportunities of revenue for the country.
According to him, Netherland in the 1980s, was ravaged by natural disasters but it took up the challenge “and today produces global experts in Marine engineering and flood technologies.”
He maintained that Nigeria could invest in the training of experts in tackling erosion so they could become “world’s best tomorrow.”