Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra-West state constituency is on the verge of being cut off entirely from Anambra state, following a gully erosion currently threatening the very existence of Ngene-Okwuazu road in Umueri Anambra-East local government area of Anambra state.
The Ngene-Okwuazu road in Umueri is said to be the only major road that connects Anambra-East and West local government areas which are closest to the Omambala river.
The absence of the aforestated road would be tantamount to untold economic hardships on Anambra-West as a result of its vantage position and strategic role, being the road that facilitates economic activities in the area.
The current public outcry however is that the collapse of Ngene-Okwuazu road would result in people from Anambra-West using boats to ferry themselves to Otuocha or Onitsha before they can access Anambra state which would take longer time and its attendant cost implications.
The need to avert the impending catastrophe especially as another rainy season beckons prompted the lawmaker representing Anambra-West state constituency in the 7th legislature, Hon. Patrick Obalum Udeoba, to move a motion that Governor Willie Obiano should direct the commissioner for environment as well as the state project coordinator of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to control the erosion ravaging Ngene-Okwuazu road.
Udeoba explained that “Ngene-Okwuazu road is the only road linking Anambra-West to the entire Anambra. The rains are coming and if that road cuts, it would be a disaster because I personally will not be able to come to work early.
“It will be extremely difficult for me to come to work early because I will have to enter boat either to drop at Onitsha or Otuocha before I can access the state. So I implore my colleagues to support this all-important motion to enable the state government respond to the situation because it is the only connecting road in Anambra-West.”
In supporting the motion for the control of the erosion menace at Ngene-Okwuazu road Umueri, the Deputy-Speaker and member representing Ihiala 2 state constituency, Dr. Paschal Agbodike, noted that Anambra state is an erosion-prone state and that NEWMAP should take proactive steps to protect the remaining landmass from being submerged entirely by erosion, stressing that Ngene-Okwuazu road required urgent remediation.
Responding to the motion on why the governor should direct NEWMAP and the state ministry of environment to move men and materials to arrest the erosion ravaging Ngene-Okwuazu road, the communications officer of NEWMAP in Anambra state Mr. Emeka Achebe stated that inasmuch as NEWMAP commiserated with those affected by the gully at Ngene-Okwuazu road, it was equally of paramount concern to state that NEWMAP does not work on erosion sites without directives from federal government, state and world bank.
Achebe said, “We have not received any formal information from anybody concerning the erosion at Anambra-West while we commiserate with them. I must let you understand that NEWMAP is funded on a tripod, the state government, federal government and the world bank.
“So until the state government, the federal government and the world bank direct such accordingly, then we will move but for now, we have not received such notice.”