George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
A ravaging erosion gully has severed a major village road of Umuota in Umuhu Autonomous Community in Ngor-Okpala council area of Imo state, to the extent that people of the area are now apart.
Indigenes of the community in a “Save Our Soul (SOS)” message to the state Government said that it is now difficult for the people Umuikeaa part of the community to access the Ota axis because of the devastated only link road.
The matter is worsened by the threat to homes in the Ota part of the community, as the ravaging erosion has continued to eat up the earth, few metres to their homesteads.
The situation has become so dire to the extent that indigenes of Umuota community who wished to go to Egbelu community with their cars which is about five minutes’ drive, would have to go through the Owerri/Aba Expressway and then reconnect with Umueze village; along the road, before heading Egbelu village.
Similarly, anybody from the Umuota village that has any business to do at the Council Headquarters at Umuneke Ngor would have to take the same route to get there.
Chairman of the Community, Mr.Emmanuel Agu told to Daily Sun that it is even difficult for motorcycles to ply the road because of the level of the devastation. He said that this has exposed them to terrible hardship as those who live at the extreme of the road find it very difficult to link other parts of the community.
“We have been suffering from this erosion menace for a long time and we have been trying to control it by using sandbags to fill the badly affected areas, but right now it is beyond what we can handle. The erosion has even affected our community hall which was built in the ‘70s through communal effort. We are passionately appealing to the state Government to come to our aid because some of the houses in that part of the community are being threatened by the erosion,” he lamented.
Also, Pastor Anthony Azu, who is the Government Liaison Officer pointed out that the village is in dire need of assistance from the local and state governments in tackling the menace which has destroyed the only link road to their closest neighbours of Egbelu community.
He further stated that most times indigenes of the community have fallen into the gullies, especially at night but disclosed that no fatalities had been recorded.
“In the past, we had drawn the attention of the local government authorities to it all to no avail. Probably, they are waiting until someone loses his or her life before they will act. Occasionally, people have fallen into deep gullies, especially at night and sustained severe injuries but we thank God that no life has been lost. So, we are calling on the state government to do something urgently to stop the further expansion of the gullies,” the cleric pleaded.
Another indigene of the area, Austin Iheanyichukwu said the road is supposed to be a trunk ‘C’ road which by implication is the responsibility of the local government authorities.
He said: “As I speak, it is not possible for me to go to Ota with a car and even using a bicycle or motorcycle is a big risk because of what gully erosion has done. This community has never benefitted from any government project. The electricity and water we have are all through communal effort. So, at least both the state and local government should tackle this erosion menace before it completely destroys part of our village.”