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