David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
A dangerously advancing erosion site at 100 Foot Road, Nnewi, Anambra State which is now only a few meters away to the Nkwo Nnewi market, has been a source of worry to the people of the industrial community.
The youths under the aegis of Nnewi Youth Forum (NYF) recently staged a peaceful demonstration to draw the attention of the State and Federal Governments to the yawning gully erosion ravaging their domain. Part of their grouse, was the dilapidated road network which had caused series of accidents in the town.
Daily Sun gathered that several buildings, economic trees, farmlands and domestic animals had been destroyed by that particular erosion menace since it started decades ago with no serious palliative measures taken by past and present governments to check it.
Thousands of traders whose stalls are close to the advancing erosion site now run their business activities in fear especially when the storm gathers because any time it rains, the erosion site continues to deepen. A visit by our reporter showed that just a road network that is almost cut into two that is holding the erosion from extending to the Nkwo Nnewi market.
The youths are worried that if no urgent steps were taken before the rain properly sets in, many traders will be thrown out of business with the attendant threat to life, “and they have no alternative place to relocate to.”
Speaking on the efforts of the youths to tackle the environmental problems in Nnewi, President General of NYF, Paul Moneke said that the youths had recently mobilised themselves to fill potholes on some roads within the town including the federal roads as a palliative measure to save commuters and other road users from accidents that frequently occurred on the dilapidated roads.
He explained that they the rehabilitation exercise on their own, bought all the materials and volunteered doing the job through direct labour as some of their members are building engineers and artisans.
Moneke said that they started the work from the Igwe Orizu road, Nnewi Roundabout to the Oba-Okigwe Expressway (Ugwu Okwenu); filling major potholes. He noted that the Nnewi youths had always engaged in the road maintenance exercise since he took over as their President General two years ago.
He passionately appealed to the Federal and Anambra State Governments to pay attention to Nnewi community and save it from its multiple ecological problems considering the community’s great contributions to national development.
Some of the placards displayed by the youths read: “Our roads are finished. Please help us,” and Federal and Anambra State Governments come and rescue Nnewi from erosion and bad roads.”
Some other executive members of the NYF who took part in the protest march were the legislator-elect for Nnewi Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly; Nonso Okafor fondly called Smart; Nonso Nnetu and the Chairman of the Works Committee of the NYF, Ejim Ucheagwu.
Anxiety has continued to grip factory owners along Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Expressway and residents of Umudimkwa, Umudim in Nnewi with the level of devastation erosion has inflicted on them.
So far, two factories, a filling station and Nnewi Area Command of the Nigeria Police, are already threatened apart from its incursion into Umudimkwa, Umudim community where a couple of buildings will likely go down, if nothing is done urgently to halt it.
A widow, whose late husband founded Nenco Industries Limited, Mrs Joy Nwokolo, told Daily Sun that her husband while alive, at a point spent over N3 million to stop the erosion but all to no avail.
She said that the company’s factory site, a school in the premises and every other thing done within the affected area was at the mercy of the devastating erosion.
“I don’t know what to do again and if nothing is done here urgently, our means of livelihood which has already been adversely affected will completely be no more. Government and its agencies should at least come and see things for themselves to be sure that we are not crying for nothing and then do something about it to save lives and our businesses,” Mrs Nwokolo pleaded.