Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
An Abia resident, Mrs Chigozie Francis, 35, has sent a Save Our Soul, SOS, message to Governor Alex Otti of Abia State for his urgent intervention as their family house has come under a serious threat of gully erosion.
The house, a three-bedroom bungalow located at Umuagu Ibeku, adjacent to the State Criminal Investigative Department, CID, Uzuakoli Road, is about to be swallowed up by a dangerous gully erosion that developed in the area about two years ago.
The mother of three who sobbed uncontrollably as she narrated her ordeals , said the house remained the only tangible achievement of the family, and should it be claimed by erosion, their hope of having a shelter over their heads would be gone.
According to her, the erosion which developed about two years ago, has wreaked havoc in the area despite efforts by residents to put it on check.
“It started gradually two years ago but we have been filing it with sand. Last year it developed more but now everything has gone worse.”
She said the house was built through her combined efforts with her husband who was a building materials dealer at the Umuahia Main Market Isigate before its relocation to Ubani nine years ago.
According to her, the relocation of the market adversely affected the finances of the family as the husband is currently a commercial tricycle operator, while herself who was hitherto, dealing on spices, is now hawking fruits just to eke out a living.
“Life has become so miserable for my family since after the movement of Umuahia Main Market to Ubani Ibeku. We are now struggling to eat. My husband was dealing on building materials before but now a KEKE driver.
“Myself was getting money before but since the market was removed my business collapsed. I resorted to hawking fruits but now due to bad economy I have no money again.
“Our children are still in school, and we are managing to train them. If this house which represents our sweat since we came to Umuahia is washed away now, it means we have laboured in vain,” she agonised.
The Obowo, Imo State-born mother of three, passionately appealed to Gov. Alex Otti, to quickly come to the rescue of his family and others in their neighbourhood to prevent their houses from being claimed by erosion.
Erosion menace is assuming a threatening dimension in Abia as the state, according to statistics from the Ministry of Environment, has over 3000 active erosion sites.