Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
Playing chess with human lives, By Ekene Odigwe

By News Express on 22/07/2018

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 443

•Ekene Odigwe
•Ekene Odigwe

The disaster started in the early ’70s, and has defied all manners of communal effort made in the past to combat it. The erosion threats takes its roots from Catherine Rest House Road (near beach junction), Nsukka, that serves as confluence centre for all flood collections in Nsukka main town. From there, it drives down to Uwenu and Uwani-Onuakachi, passing through Ugbene Agu to Aguneze; and then it splits into various channels to Ihe-Uno, Amebo, Uzoma, Amuamu and Ekoi villages - together they form Alor-Uno community of Nsukka Local Government in Enugu, South-eastern Nigeria - that are experiencing severe climate disaster, because of increased rainfall and flooding the entire town generates. As a result, right now, so many people have become environmental refugees.

The closeness of the villages to the Rest House has multiplied the harsh effects of the menace on the villagers. The families of late Obodo Nweze, Omeje Ogbobe, Patrick Ngwu, Ugwoke Onah, Thomas Nweze are a few among many other families taking refuge somewhere else, because of this menace. It is on record that this environmental threat has sent not less than 148 families parking from their ancestral homes. As at the time of filling this report, flood had submerged what used to be their respective houses.

Hon Clement Ukwueze, chairman of the affected community, explained that they have written to the former and present Enugu State Government administrations and Ministry of Works; yet, nothing has been done.

In the past, various representations were also made to subsequent regimes at the local level, seeking their help in combating this issue. Starting from 2000, when Dr Dan Shere was the local government chairman: during that time he led partnership with the community and brought bulldozers to open up flood channels. This gave the affected villages short relief, only for the erosion to resume closing up its channels with heaps of sand and other debris that have made it impossible for easy flow of water. As a result of the blockages, the erosion started finding its way into their individual homes.

Well, that’s not the only attempt made by this community. In 2014, they sent an SOS mail and also made a representation to the former executive chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Charles Ugwu who, after visiting the site, promised to draw the attention of the state government, stressing that the weight had surpassed the capacity of a project one local government would embark on. Unfortunately, that was a political excuse. Caretaker chairmen came and left; letters were written and sent but, just like their predecessors, nothing was done.

In recent time the massive construction of road network going on in Nsukka metropolis heightened the strength of the erosion and its effects on these people. Homes are submerged and humans have become environmental refugees, letters and representations made but no response received.

Hon Nkechi Omeje Ogbu, representing Nsukka West at the Enugu State House of Assembly, said she is aware and was even part of the committee on urban renewal that had visited these sites several times, but she does not have the facts together. The chairman, Committee on Urban Renewal, Hon Offor, as at the time of filling this report, hasn’t picked nor returned any calls or messages.

Sustainable development has an environmental component, and three of the SDGs numbers 13, 14, and 15 deals directly with the kind of environment we want to maintain on Earth. So, we cannot allow people to continually politicise policies, partnerships and constituency projects, especially if these issues bother on human life and shelter. And, in this case, it will help in saving a community from extinction.

According to Dr Pat Asadu, member representing Nsukka Igboeze South in the House of Representatives, he is not aware of such a case nor has it ever been brought to his attention. He redirected that Ogbu will be in the know, as it is within her constituency.

In human interactions with the environment, we often hear some scientists claim that we are living in the Anthropocene, a term that loosely translates to The Age of Humans. Paul Crutzen, one of the three chemists awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering that human activities were impacting the ozone layer around the Earth, introduced the term in early 2000. But unfortunately as the rest of the world are discovering this and tinkering along the line of proffering solutions, developing countries like Nigeria are still claiming ignorance and playing politics with human lives.

The head, Climate Change office of Enugu State, Mr Nnamdi Arum, narrated how this erosion might have started at a further place and since Alor-Uno is in a slopping area, the possibility that the “finger” may be extended to where it is presently and will also continue to expand; claiming more land, people or anything standing on its way. On a broader scale Mr Arum explained that the greenhouse gases are on the increase and in the case of Alor-Uno, all flooding comes together to create such an impact. He suggested that humans can work around in achieving the Paris Agreement, which is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, starting in the year 2020; and that they should start to address this issue as they occur, rather than waiting till they become so big.

Mr Alpheus Odo, Controller, Federal Ministry of Environment, claims no knowledge of such impact, and asked that the community send in a formal report to their office, recounting their losses. Obviously, he couldn’t interpret what qualifies as an environmental menace to be called emergency or how his agency does respond to this type of natural emergency.

Consultant on Environmental Impact Assessment and Biodiversity issues for Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja, Nigeria and a member of the African Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) with expertise in Biogeography and Biodiversity, Prof Philip Ogbonia Phil-Eze, stated that his office has conducted a geo-technicalsurvey and identified a site for earth dam where they will now harvest flood and when that happens the water harvested will no longer remain there or drive people from their homes, rather it will now serve domestic purposes and irrigation. He opined that the soil needs time to rejuvenate its lost nutrients and that is something that will take time and also something that will ensure that there’s a vegetation cover over the soil for a given number of years,because soil is a dynamic thing. It grows and matures over time within which the nutrients are restored, but that can only happen if the flood is prevented.

In all, it would seem this is a game of Chess: Sacrifice your pawn and save your queen. But, at what price and, for how long, will this sacrifice continue? These people are part of a town that depends on farm produce. And with the worsening flooding costing 1.4 per cent of sub-Saharan GDP each year, according to UN Environment, one is left to wonder if our government at all levels have the political will to bridge this gap.

@Ekeneodigwe, OAP @coalcity929fm, Advocate @afrikaYM, Fellow and @YALINetwork. 

Source News Express

Posted 22/07/2018 10:27:08 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Reduce number of police officers attached to public...

Man jailed 13 years for raping wife

WHY THEY WANT ME DEAD —Ekiti guber aspirant...

CSO condoles health workers union over death of...

5 injured as US-bound flight makes emergency landing...

WHO declares global emergency over Zika-linked condition

Special Report: How authorities abuse Nigerian women on...

Ambode appoints new CEOs for Lagos Lotteries Board,...

MASSOB alleges murder of 1,000 members by Nigerian...

Nigerian troops raid more Boko Haram camps, kill...

Abia State Government endorses Ibeku leadership faction

NiMET predicts sunny conditions today but clouds and...

 

Latest News Ebonyi to build International Airport Man kills sick brother to avoid paying medical bills INEC wants N6bn to feed policemen during 2019 polls Arewa youths back Saraki, caution Oshiomhole on utterances Why we suspended consular services in Abuja — U.S. Embassy Police capture 20 suspected Zamfra bandits, recover arms SERAP sues NYSC over failure to publish Kemi Adeosun’s ‘exemption certificate’ 25 students killed in bomb blast Reps, INEC meet over 2019 general elections FEC approves N15.73 billion road project in Enugu El-Rufa’i presents N155bn 2019 budget for Kaduna Fake news aggravated recent National Assembly crisis — Minister

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (377,131 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (366,294 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (295,975 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (241,628 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (222,334 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (216,968 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (192,367 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (174,549 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (159,519 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (158,083 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (152,538 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (142,901 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (56) Business & Economy (3,451) Business Verdict (48) Columnists (908) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (527) Features (632) Global Business Monitor (294) International (2,268) Interview (161) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (134) News (38,028) Opinion (1,057) Pidgin (11) Politics (6,045) Religion (816) Sports (1,645) Stock Watch (33) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

Liverpool Destroying West Ham 4-0 - Highlights

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement