Gully Erosion: Declare Onitsha disaster area – Clerics, town leaders tell federal, state governments

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Leaders of Catholic and Anglican churches as well as residents of Obeleagu and Nkisi Aroli streets in Onitsha, Anambra State, on Saturday protested ravaging gully erosion in the area.

The clerics, accompanied by the Onitsha Improvement Union, the Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC), called on both Federal and Anambra State governments to declare state of emergency on the erosion disaster.

They lamented that over 22 houses have caved into the gully erosion, while no fewer than 1500 families have been displaced.

Executive Director (JDPC), Onitsha Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Edwin Udoye who led the protest, accused both federal and state governments of cold-feet towards addressing the disaster since it started, warning of further calamities if nothing urgent was done.

He said, “It has become imperative for both governments to declare the region disaster area and a state of emergency.

“Since September 11, 2019 the gully erosion started, till date house hold property worth billions of naira have been lost by displaced people, while ancestral graves and lands have been washed away by the erosion.

Also speaking, President of Onitsha Improvement, Mr. Chike Ekweogu, called on both governments to intervene in the disaster now it had not claimed any life.

“We are lucky to have lost no life here. I remember the last time I came here I told the woman in charge of the Redeem school to relocate. I’m happy she listened to me, otherwise we would have lost many lives because some children were living in the school,” he noted.

The President of Onitsha Improvement, Mr. Chike Ekweogu, Parish Priest St Mary Catholic Parish, Inland Town Onitsha, Rev. Fr. Johnbosco Okafor, his counterparts from St Stephens Anglican Church, Rev Canon Emmanuel Ibezim and Rev. Chinedu Emmanuel of St Philips Anglican Church and Mr Robert Ndubuisi of JDPC St Mary’s Parish Onitsha respectively called on the Federal and State government to address the threatening gully erosion disaster now it has not claimed any life.

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“This gully erosion is so big and great that it is swallowing houses and am afraid that a church under my jurisdiction may be loosing property worth over N150 million if government fails to come in now,” Rev. Canon Ibezim said

On his part, Rev. Fr. Okafor on his part, said, “St Charles Secondary School with about 4000 population and my Parish are stone throw to their gully erosion and we are afraid that the gully erosion is fast approaching with each rain that fall, we are seriously under threat, government should step in now.”

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