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Erosion: Abia communities on the brink of extinction

At least 10 houses have been submerged by floods with resultant erosions which rendered many people homeless in three villages in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State.

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Similarly, many other buildings in the villages are on the verge of collapse, while others are under serious threat due to heavy flooding. 

With the rains becoming heavier, many parts of Umuahia South are already threatened by devastating erosion which has become a common feature in many communities in the area.   

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Daily Trust observed that some of the affected buildings include a storey building, residential buildings and farms. 

It is common to see families abandon their homes whenever it rains because the homes lie within gully erosion sites that are up to 100 feet deep. 

Daily Trust gathered that in many communities, the floods were constantly creating gully erosion sites in the areas. 

The residents revealed that the large number of erosion sites started as small holes and later developed into big ones. 

Ngodo is one of the communities in Umuahia South that sits in the midst of an age-long gully that threatens its existence every rainy season. Like most communities with similar environmental challenges, the gully, by all indications, is far beyond the scope and capacity of the community to control. 

It was gathered that the community’s effort at checking the menace had not helped in addressing the problem. From piling of sand bags and stones to channeling of water and planting Indian bamboo and trees, the residents said they had exhausted all alternatives in trying to control the erosion.

A Catholic Priest in the area, Rev. (Fr.) Christian Uche Anokwuru, identified the soil texture and traced the history of the erosion to the abandoned NDDC Umuwanwa Road. 

Fr. Anokwuru said the contract for the road was awarded over a decade ago but abandoned, and that the erosion created various gullies within Ngodo Autonomous Community. 

He said, “We are farmers in Ngodo Autonomous Community, and today we can’t access the road to sell our produce. He said their sources of water were no longer there and that they went to distant communities to get water.

“People who are sick, when in an emergency situation, before they find a vehicle which can take them to the hospital in the town, they run into complications and some die on the way.

“We are calling on NDDC and the Ecological Fund Office to help us. This problem can be salvaged. People have run to their maternal homes, Ngodo is no longer a safe place, we have no government presence here,” he lamented.

He noted that the village was very happy when the Bishop of Umuahia Diocese approved the establishment of a monastery, but that unfortunately, those in the monastery relocated to Ugwueke in Bende Local Government Area because they could not access their homes.

He said the bishop also approved the building to be used as a clinic to help the people, but that incidentally, there was no road to access the place. 

The traditional ruler of Ngodo Autonomous Community, Eze Stephen Ihuoma, said the gully erosion sites had brought untold hardship to the community as farmlands were being destroyed, and also noted that most of their roads had been cut off, especially the only road leading to Ngodo. 

He pointed out that though there were some palliative measures the member representing Umuahia/Ikwuano Federal Constituency did on the sites, but that the measures could not withstand the pressure from the floods. 

The monarch said the gullies were beyond the capacity of the community and the state government and therefore called on the Federal Government to come to their aid.

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