… As Deputy Governor directs immediate end to sand dredging in Oko
The Transition Committee Chairman of Orumba North Local Government Area, Hon. Sir Ogo Ekwueme, on Saturday led the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim and the United Nations’ Humanitarian Delegation to the Ezioko erosion for an on the spot assessment.
It will be recalled that the erosion site which has defied every intervention from both the community and the Anambra State Government, a fortnight ago, witnessed a landslide which sent a Structural Engineer, Prof. Henry Aginam and others packing from their residence.
Conducting the Deputy Governor and the United Nations team round the site, Hon. Ekwueme informed the visitors of the community’s efforts in checking the erosion menace adding that members of the community had not relented in planting bamboo and other trees to curtail the effect of the erosion.
On his part, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim hinted that they were at the site to save lives as according to him, what they saw and the speed with which the erosion was encroaching into people’s homes and farmlands, no one knew who would be the next victim.
“So, we are here to see how we can assist in tackling the situation. If there are some harmful practices that you do that encourage this erosion, it should be discontinued because some of these activities like sand dredging contribute to the crisis. So, while you do the much you can do, we will also do the much we can do.
“The Chairman is here, Ogochukwu Ekwueme, I have told him that that (sand dredging) is what he should stop immediately… because lives are endangered.
“Also, those who fail to channel the rainwater coming from their houses appropriately should desist forthwith as this contributes to the menace. The governor has said if there are policies of the government that we need to make immediately to forestall these activities while interventions are going on, we quickly do that. That’s why we are here”, he said.
While pointing out that the Governor sent him and the United Nations team to see things for themselves, he added that a member of the UN delegation was an expert in bamboo planting noting that she would let them know if they were planting the right specie of bamboo. “She will help in this regard to train those who will plant them and also bring improved varieties so that we start on time to remedy the situation”, he added.
While consoling Prof. Henry Aginam for the loss of his house to the recent landslide, the Deputy Governor, however, expressed happiness that the victim did not allow the incident to weigh him down adding that the experience could be traumatic.
Responding, Prof. Henry Aginam who took time to chronicle the community’s efforts at checkmating the erosion and the activities leading to the recent landslide noted that nobody in that vicinity was safe if something urgent was not done to put the menace on hold.
While calling for government and the international community’s support, he said, “It calls for serious attention otherwise the whole place will be cut off because we never expected this kind of thing to happen.”
Also speaking, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi whose town incidentally, is from the same local government area as Oko, Orumba North, while appreciating the Deputy Governor and the UN delegation for the visit, called for an urgent intervention to save the people from further losing their homes and farmlands.
Photo 1: Chief of Staff to Governor Chukwuma Soludo, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim and leader of the United Nations Humanitarian Delegation during the on the spot assessment of Ezioko Erosion site in Oko on Saturday.
Photos 2: Back view of Prof. Henry Aginam’s residence which caved into the erosion site following the recent landslide in the area.
Photo 3: A cross section of the Ezioko erosion site in Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
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