EN­VI­RON­MENT Zam­fara com­mu­nity raises Why floods per­sist in Anam­bra alarm over gully ero­sion

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - From Shehu Umar, Gusau From Emma Elekwa, Awka

Res­i­dents of Dansadau in Maru LGA of Zam­fara State have ap­pealed to the state gov­ern­ment to come to their aid as gully ero­sion is pos­ing se­ri­ous threat to their en­vi­ron­ment.

The Pres­i­dent of Dansadau Con­cerned Cit­i­zens, Ya’u Muham­mad Dansadau, told Daily Trust that about 20 res­i­den­tial houses are be­ing se­ri­ously threat­ened by the ero­sion while the bridge along Gusau-Dansadau road is on the verge of col­lapse as a re­sult of ero­sion.

He added that other five spots are also hit by the ero­sion men­ace which is se­ri­ously dev­as­tat­ing them.

“We re­sorted to self-help and the com­mu­nity spent about N1 mil­lion by hir­ing an ex­ca­va­tor so that some de­graded places would be res­cued,” he said.

He said at any mo­ment the threat­ened bridge, which served at link be­tween many com­mu­ni­ties, could col­lapse and that might halt com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties of many towns and vil­lages.

“Last week, a man lost his life af­ter fast mov­ing flood wa­ters washed away a trac­tor con­vey­ing them home from the farm at a river about 12km from Dansadau town. Twenty four oth­ers es­caped death but sus­tained in­juries,” he added.

He called on the state gov­ern­ment to as­sist in ad­dress­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges squarely say­ing that the en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion fac­ing the com­mu­nity was a real source of con­cern to the dwellers of the com­mu­nity.

Re­spond­ing to the de­vel­op­ment, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the state Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, Bello Far­nana Bakura, said they were yet to re­ceive any com­plaint from the lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­man of the af­fected com­mu­nity. Anam­bra is one of the ero­sion prone states in the coun­try, with about 1000 ac­tive ero­sion sites.

These nu­mer­ous cases of ero­sion men­ace in the state, many say, are es­sen­tially con­tribut­ing to the flood dis­as­ters rav­aging var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties in the state.

While some blame it on the wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion of some road con­struc­tion projects il­le­gal as de­vel­op­ments along flood plains and wa­ter ways, oth­ers at­tribute it to de­for­esta­tion and dump­ing of refuse along the wa­ter canals.

De­spite var­i­ous gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tions to­wards mit­i­gat­ing the scourge, the in­ci­dents of flood­ing have con­tin­ued un­abated, with prop­erty worth bil­lions of naira, and some­times lives, be­ing lost to the dis­as­ter.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gov­er­nor Wil­lie Obiano, for ex­am­ple, has since in­cep­tion, been part­ner­ing agen­cies such as the World Bank, UNICEF, and Euro­pean Union, among oth­ers, to fight the men­ace.

The gov­ern­ment has also in­tro­duced the one mil­lion tree plant­ing ini­tia­tive not only to help in re­duc­ing the phe­nom­e­non, but also to beau­tify the state.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, the res­i­dents have not helped mat­ters as they con­stantly erect struc­tures along the wa­ter­ways and the in­dis­crim­i­nately dump refuse in drainages.

When­ever the rainy sea­son ap­proaches, res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly those liv­ing within the river­ine ar­eas, are gripped by fear on what would be­come their fate through­out the sea­son.

Daily Trust gath­ered that some res­i­dents com­plied with the gov­ern­ment di­rec­tive of relocating to safer grounds in­clud­ing to the In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons (IDP) camps it pro­vided, un­til the rains sub­sided, but oth­ers stayed put, as they bat­tled the scourge all through the time the rains lasted.

Daily Trust in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that some res­i­dents, es­pe­cially the youths in these flood prone ar­eas, make thou­sands of naira daily by re­selling sand they evac­u­ate from the blocked drainages.

Some youths who are into the busi­ness, in a chat with our cor­re­spon­dent, said they have been able to set­tle some of their fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions from the what they make from the sale of the sand dur­ing the rainy sea­son.

They said though they are not happy with the un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion, but they al­ways looked for­ward to the sea­son when they make brisk busi­ness from the sales.

Emeka Ifesinachi, a se­condary school stu­dent, who de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as a bless­ing in dis­guise, said he had been able to pay his school fees for two con­sec­u­tive years, since he was in­tro­duced to the busi­ness.

“You can’t be­lieve it, we make a min­i­mum of N4,000 to N5,000 each trip we sell. On a good day, we can sell about two trips and by the time we share the pro­ceeds, each of us is smil­ing home with rea­son­able amount of money,” he added.

An­other youth, who sim­ply iden­ti­fied him­self as Gabriel, said the pro­ceeds from the job have as­sisted him to pay his house rent.

He added that the work has been of great help in check­ing the flood men­ace, as the evac­u­a­tion of the sand en­abled free flow of wa­ter along the canals.

“You can imag­ine what could have hap­pened if we were not been col­lect­ing the sand from the gutters. The calamity could have been worse,” he stated.

How­ever, with the ex­clu­sion of the state from the re­cently ap­proved Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment flood in­ter­ven­tion fund for states rav­aged by flood dis­as­ters, the mit­i­ga­tion em­barked on by the youths in the area may likely be the only rem­edy for a long time.

One of the af­fected ar­eas along Gusau – Dansadau road

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