Afikpo Under Siege Of Erosion – Experts describe flood as the attack of the earth’s crust. It is also said to be land causing gullies, valleys and things of the like. Like any other things erosion can be slow and gradual. Its activities seem friendly and do not embarrass property nor life. We even say it does good to the land and farms
But the severe one, we know from experience can uproot and erode anything. It embarrasses both property, building and even human lives. In Nigeria, erosion is known to have completely washed away many landscapes thereby causing serious hazards on the land. More than half the world’s landmass is being affected. From one country to another, one state to the country to another and from one community to another, the number is just too numerous to be catalogued.
In Ebonyi State many communities and villages suffer serious gully erosion. These include those in the 13 LGAs and the 64 development centres which experts say amount millions tone annually. Records, however show that Afikpo experiences the most serious in the state. A pertinent area ever noticed is the Mgbom Valley where there is constant sliding of mass of earth following rainfalls. Records available showed that both lives and properties had been lost in the past years. Other major areas are Ogbodo, Amankwo, Amaizu, Unwana, Akpoha, Amasiri and the Federal Housing areas in Ngodo.
I do not wish to over simplify or make comparison, neither to risk a guess, but I can safely say that Afikpo experiences the most severe erosion and this has to be pursued with greet interest. Right from time, properities valued a millions of naira has been reportedly swept away by flood, even lives are reportedly lost every year. One a close inspection, Afikpo looks like town with no one to care for its environmental sanitation, this following the rampage of flood. Refuse, cables and water pipes are scattered and most houses standing with exposed foundations are as result of severe flooding.
Causes: Experience show that construction of most modern road networks causes the problems. Other causes noted are the ‘over use’ and mis’use’ of plots, while people particularly those in the urban areas believed to drop refuse indiscriminately in the gutter and those in the village misuse the land by cultivating on portions of land around gullies thereby causing the speed of flow of water. Some also heap sand, cheapens on the road while other mould blocks on the road and leaves heaps after work.
Now a question may be asked: what is the government’s attitude towards the problem? And what other measures have both the communities and the local authority take to prevent it? The local authority has been addressing the issue, both the present and the immediate past embarked on drainage work for the flood by digging gutters and channels.
Records available showed that several meters long culverts and retaining walls of various sizes worth hundreds of thousands have so far been constructed.
Apart from these measures, however, taken by government, communities also have put up self efforts. Individuals especially in the town dig culverts and gutters, while most areas have constructed bridges to control the speed and prevent flood. Particular reference are given to the N800,000 culvert constructed by an age grade in Enohia and that of the N50,000 built by an individual in Ngodo.
Although the local authority has not embarked on afforestation campaigns , most communities and individuals have embraced the planting of trees near the gullies and culverts, a measure aimed at checking erosion in the area.
For effective results and possible eradiction of flooding the area, this writer warns against approval of building plans at river banks. People should stop dropping refuse into gutters. Should not cultivate land around the gully areas. Those who drop sands and mould blocks on the roadsides should be discouraged. Such people should be arrested and prosecuted.
A lot have been achieved both by the government and communities, yet it is still assumed that more has to be done by whoever will come next-individual or government, to save the town from being completely washed away by the pertinent flood. This issue is a matter to be taken with a great concern, especially now that efforts are being made by the individuals and that rainy seasons is coming to an end.