The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), has advised the South-East states to minimise dependence on land as part of measures to check gully erosion in the zone.
Izuchukwu Onwughara, the Project Coordinator of NEWMAP gave the advice in Umuahia, while speaking on gully erosion devastation in the zone.
He expressed concern that the phenomenon had continued to wreck havoc on many communities with the attendant negative implication on the socio-economic life of the people.
“In fact, the South-East is the erosion headquarters of the entire globe,” he said, adding that Anambra was the worst hit, followed by Enugu and Abia states.
Onwughara attributed the problem of gullies in the area to the high population density.
According to him, the ratio of persons that live within one square kilometer in Nigeria is highest in the South-East.
“The soil is very weak and there is high demand on land. Unfortunately, while the population is increasing, land is not increasing.
“It makes the area highly susceptible to soil erosion unlike other areas such as the North that is face with wind erosion,” he said.
Omwughara said that there were very simple measures that people could adopt to control the menace.
The coordinator said that the problem usually started as “ordinary sheet erosion (tiny erosion signs) that was not attended to.”
“People should learn the culture of using sand bags, coconut shaft, planting of trees and restrictions on indiscriminate felling of trees to control erosion in our communities,” he said.
He said that NEWMAP had embarked on remediation in critical areas in Abia including Umuda Isingwu, Umuagu-Ibeku, Amuzukwu-Ibeku in Umuahia North council area as well as Umuoghele and Umuezukwu Nsulu in Isialangwa North council area.
Onwughara said that the agency had been given approval to do serious flood emergency work at Uratta in Aba, the economic hub of the state.
He commended Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for releasing N350 million as counterpart fund for the NEWMAP projects in the state.
The project coordinator disclosed that the fund was deployed in the payment of compensation for people’s property destroyed in the course of the project execution.
He said that the governor also approved additional N1 billion for the payment of compensation for the projects in Aba and those awaiting approval.