Deadly gully erosion sites at berenta-Ibere Oro Autonomous Community in Ikwuano local government area of Abia State is on the verge of claiming several houses and cutting off access roads to other villages as well as hampering economic development of the community.
According to the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Dr Uchenwa Stanley who spoke to newsmen who visited the community on Wednesday, he said the threatening gully erosion sites has received several palliative measures from the indigenes of the community both home and in diaspora in order to stop the expansion of the gully site but currently, it is expanding and above the community’s palliative control.
HRH Uchenwa also added that the palliative measures applied so far to control the gully erosion site are mostly supported by their sons and daughters in diaspora and it has been a yearly project. He thus, pleaded with the Abia State and Federal Government to come to their aide before it begins to take more lives and properties.
The gully erosion site is gradually caving into residential areas and cutting off the only access road into the community and to other communities. The access road to the community primary school in the area is also under threat.
According to HRM Uchenwa, the ugly development has contributed to the massive exodus of civil servants posted to the community to carry out their official assignments.
HRH Eze Stanley expressed hope and confidence in the administration of Governor Alex Otti to come to their aide. He also revealed that several politicians have visited the site with huge promises but none ever came to fruition.
HRH Stanley also expressed his worries on the negative social and economical impact the gully erosion site has caused. He said the menace is gradually cutting off the food basket of the state.
“If you talk about export produce, it is here in Oro, cocoa, palm oil, timber and every other thing you can think about you can have it in Oro.” HRM Eze Stanley said.
According to pascal Atuma, a stakeholder in the community, he said doctors posted to the community centers do hurriedly apply for their transfers as well as youth corpers and civil servants.
In his own words: “Some of them don’t want to travel that road with their cars, some of them after using bikes and tricycles, they apply for transfer. This road is not only causing economic issues for us but it is also causing health and educational issues. If our children cannot get access to good education, where are we heading to? What we are asking for is the ecological department and those in charge of climate change, the state governor and federal government to help us. Over the years we have had politicians come in and use this as campaign promises, but luckily for us, we have a governor who is not a politician.”
Apart from the erosion sites, the major access road to the community is very bad as well as other adjoining roads. Other members of the community also narrate the hardship they go through when it rains and the fear they go through.
According to an elder in the community, Ejikeme Onwunzuike, he added that since he was born, the Roads in the community have been in a terrible state. He added that despite the loads of plantains, cocoa, bananas that come out from the community, the government is yet to see it necessary to tar the Roads.
Mrs Gold Uche, who does her petty business in the community also expressed sadness on the hardship they go through plying the road to join the major road that leads to the capital city of the state as well as the trauma they go through when it rains.
“It affects a lot in this community, houses have collapsed,” Mrs. Gold said.
Mrs Mabel Imo, a native of Iberenta community also added that it has become a nightmare once it rains due to the serious ecological problems over the years she has been living in the community.
“Our Roads are very bad, we may be cut off, there are ecological problems. During the rainy seasons, we normally don’t come out because of the roads. This is an agricultural area and our women cultivate different types of foods. The garri you hear is from Ikwuano, is from this place. We don’t have good roads to evacuate these produce to the market. We want the government to come and help us.” Mrs Mabel pleaded.
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