Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment, on Thursday, called for the immediate declaration of a state of emergency on erosion ravaging several parts of the country to comprehensively tackle the menace.
The Minister emphasized that the measure has become imperative considering the devastating effects of flood and gully erosion to lives, property and the ecosystem across the country.
According to a statement signed by Saghir el Mohammed, the Director Press in the ministry said the Minister spoke during an inspection of some erosion sites recently in Anambra state.
Accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, the minister said, “We are coming in with renewed vigour, and every sense of urgency to make sure that remediation is carried out on erosion sites in Nigeria. From what I have seen, there is a need for a state of emergency to be declared on gully erosion in the country.
“Anambra state is losing its landmass. People are losing their lives, and means of livelihood to erosion. I want to assure you that work is starting immediately, hence this inspection. All contractors will be put on their toes, as we work with both the State Government and host communities in this regards,” she said.
Speaking on the role of the citizenry in erosion prevention and management, the Minister, emphasized the need for continued public sensitization and awareness creation on waste management, afforestation and reduction in green gas emission.
She said: “We need to educate our people because a larger percentage of the environmental challenges we are suffering today is man-made. We cannot blame everything on nature. What is happening to the climate today was caused by man.
During the inspection of Community Secondary School Obosi erosion site, Mrs Ikeazor bemoaned the devastating impact of gully erosion on the school and assured that urgent steps must be taken to address the situation, saying that the disruption of education should not be tolerated.
“This is disrupting education and we cannot allow it. We ought to declare a state of emergency on erosion in Nigeria, and that is why I am here to get things done. We must get it done fast. What we are going to do differently this time around is to sustain the intervention. You can see an intervention that was done on an erosion site in 2017, has given way because it was not sustained. We are going to make sure that sustainable remediation is carried out.”
In his remarks, Dr Okeke expressed the readiness of their State Government to partner with FG in its renewed efforts at remediating erosion sites in the State.
“The State is always ready to partner with the Federal Government. Anambra is suffering from gully erosion. We are the second smallest state in the federation. While Lagos is gaining landmass through reclamation from the sea, we are losing lands to gully erosion. Something needs to be done fast,” he said.