The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has raised alarm over the growing threat of gully erosion that he said has grown more ambitious in its quest to swallow up the entire state.
Speaking at a special event held in Awka on Tuesday to mark this year’s World Environment Day, Governor Obiano warned that with over 950 gully erosion sites existing within a land mass of 4,844 square kilometres, it was clear that unless something was done quickly, Anambra State would be washed away by erosion.
“In truth, no other state in Nigeria has been ravaged by erosion on the same scale as Anambra. If the images that we generated from our aerial photography are anything to go by, then the world must come to our rescue before it is too late. Indeed, we are raising this alarm in the hope that the attentive world will give Anambra State a chance to survive as a geopolitical entity that deserves its continuous membership of the human race,” governor Obiano explained.
Consequently, the governor called on the Federal government to declare Anambra an Ecologically Endangered State as that would not only ensure that its cries for help and rescue would get expedited response from the Federal Government but also help to draw the attention of the world to the plight of the Anambra State.
Justifying his position, Governor Obiano reasoned that “the tragedy of gully erosion is that its impact is usually so colossal that it is almost impossible for any state, no matter how rich, to tackle it alone. We are emboldened by the fact that many nations who were faced with the threat of extinction of this nature or worse in the past were not left to their fate by a caring world. We have no doubt that our case will not be different.”
While acknowledging the series of interventions by the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) and the great assistance the state had received from the World Bank in fending off the menace, Governor Obiano further emphasized that the state was still in dire need of help to manage its terribly eroded landscape, observing that “the rate at which this menace is progressing is so frightening that if nothing is done very quickly, it will overwhelm our collective capacity to slow it down.”
Enumerating the efforts and achievements of his administration in the area of the environment, Governor Obiano explained that his efforts to draw attention to the menace had resulted in a series of interventions by the World Bank which recently approved the commencement of work on the erosion sites in Ugamuma-Obosi, Ikenga-Ogidi, Enugwu Ukwu and Abidi-Umoji.
He also revealed that the sites at Nnewi-Ichi, Ire Obosi, Nkpor Bridge by New Tarzan and Ojoto would be ready for approval next month.
Governor Obiano also recalled that his government had recorded many achievements in the area of environmental cleanness, pointing out that the street sweepers that his administration employed had so far done a great job of keeping the state clean.
Said he: “As you may all remember, we demolished a 30-year-old mountain of refuse that was several stories high in Okpoko last year. We have also succeeded in cleaning up the eyesore that used to be the refuse dump on Onitsha-Owerri Road. Indeed, Ndi Anambra, our records speak for us! However, there is still a lot of work to be done to improve upon our present level of efficiency.”