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Motorists groan as gully erosion tears Enugu apart


The Ugwuonyeama gully erosion site on Enugu end of the Enugu-Onitsha highway

Unless some urgent treatment is given to certain areas in Enugu State, the likelihood that they may be cut off from the rest of the society is imminent following the gully erosion that is fast spreading and eaten up some areas in the state.

With the rainy season at its peak, most landscapes are giving in to degradation in most parts of Enugu State, same as other states in the South-East with porous soil formations.

Investigation by The Guardian revealed numerous erosion sites dotting the state. Prominent among them however and for which residents and commuters are beckoning on governments at the state and federal levels for intervention are the Enugu end of the Enugu –Onitsha road, the Abakpa junction towards the 82 Division end of the highway, as well as Ngenevu, coal camp axis, now threatening the existence of Rico Industries.

Travelling the short distance between Enugu and 9th Mile is a nightmare, not just for the road that is impassable but for the fear of skidding into deep gullies that have chopped off major portions of the road. At Ekulu bridge, just behind 82 Division Abakpa Barracks, is an erosion gully that is not only risky to commuters but is also a threat to the bridge that serves as a connector for Abakpa and the two lanes of the federal highway.

At Ugwu Onyeama proper, a section of the road with undulating hill formation where coal was mined, the portion is almost cut-off with more than 60 per cent of one lane barricaded to avert tragedy occurring there. An alternative route to avoiding Ugwu Onyeama which is the Milikin Hill-Ngwo Road is also being threatened by the same erosion despite the recent rehabilitation of the colonial road by Enugu State Government.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, however, went back to the site to check the threatening portion and the road is presently being made safe for passage. In a similar situation, even within the Enugu City are some forms of degradation threatening establishments such as industrial complexes.

At Rico Industrial site at Ngenev near Coal Camp, massive gully is about to sack part of the industrial complex, with Chairman of the Group, Chief Eric Chime calling on all authorities to come to its aid.

The Guardian, which visited some of the sites at the weekend discovered massive gullies that have eaten large chunk of the areas. The development has compounded the dilapidated Ugwuonyeama –Enugu end of the Enugu-Onitsha highway as motorists and other road users now struggle through the narrow portion yet to be eaten up by erosion on one lane of the road.

Long barricades were placed around the deep gullies to avert vehicles from skidding into the gully that has created a yawning gap on the road. The erosion site on the same highway towards the 82 Division barracks end, Enugu, is threatening the Ekulu Bridge. Motorists say the area caved in last week when the rains peaked, adding that the ugly thing about the development was that it occurred at the portion that was considered motorable by the users.

The situation at the Rico Industrial Estate, Ngenevu, coal camp, residents say was threatening the area, even as the owner of the
factory, Mr. Eric Chime, said it would take millions of naira to check the gully that had pulled down part of the water channel at the place.

When contacted however, the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), a partnership project between Enugu state and World Bank, which said it had visited some of the sites said the areas required urgent attention.

Enugu coordinator of the agency, Mr. Egechukwu Obetta, said that despite the protocol involved before its intervention, the agency has done much work in the state and named sites like Ajali water works erosion site, Udi-Ozalla, Imiliki, Onuiyi Nsukka and Ohom Orba Erosion sites as receiving attention.

Obetta said they have barricaded the dangerous areas on the Enugu-Onitsha highway at Ekulu Bridge behind 82 Division to avert tragedy, adding that they would commence remedial action on how to attract attention to the sites.

He stated that Enugu State government has paid over N200 million counterpart funds to enable the state source World Bank NEWMAP facility to combat further degradation in the state.

Obetta disclosed that because of the counterpart fund it paid, the state was able to commence work at Umuavulu-Abor erosion site among other sites it has been working on.

Obetta also hinted about four fingers of heavy gullies in Ngwo community, noting that an edifice is about is about being submerged at Amauzam-Ngwo.

On the perennial Nsukka flood, which has consumed may lives due to large quantity of rainfall, Obetta said that a pool that would look like a lake is being designed for Nsukka to serve as a collection centre instead of channeling all the water through long distances that brings about the flood.

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