Awka – People of Umudim village in Ekwulumili, Nnewi South Local Government of Anambra are now living in constant fear over a major gully erosion sweeping away homes and farmlands in the area.
Ekwulumili is an agrarian community with a large population of indigenous people and shares borders with Amichi, Igboukwu, Unubi, Akwaihedi and Orsumoghu.
The massive gully, measuring several meters in width and depth, is expanding at a very fast speed, and some natives directly affected by the disaster, said they have lost their ancestral land where they were supposed to build on and cultivate.
Mrs Charity Ezeoke, who lives on the side of the erosion, said they live in constant fear of losing their house because it was a few feet away from it, revealing that the erosion had been there since she was a young girl and that efforts made to correct it had failed.
She called on the Anambra government to address the matter or relocate them before they stand the risk of losing their lives alongside property.
“Whenever it rains, the way it pulls trees and earth sounds like an earthquake and makes us live in fear all the time.
“Government should help us control the erosion or even come and evacuate us because we don’t have peace,” she said.
Mr Chukwura Ntagu, an indigene of the town, said the gully had cut them off from their brothers and sisters in neighbouring Umudim village in Amichi, whom they have lived and interacted with for ages.
Ntagu said many people had left the town due to the erosion threat while most people were homeless because their lands had been washed away.
“It was not as big as this in the past, we used to pass through this place to Ochi in Amichi where we used to have our match past but it has continued to grow.
“This place where I am standing is my ‘ala obi’ (land inheritance) where I am supposed to build and farm but it has been washed off.
“Those of us who live on the bank of the erosion don’t sleep whenever it rains, many families have lost their homes and ran to their family members in other locations,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Onyeka Ikejiaku described the situation as a disaster as it had affected their livelihood, economic activities and social development negatively.
Ikejiaku said a number of government officials and agencies have been visiting but nothing has been done, noting that the challenge has affected their main occupation in the area which is farming.
“All the flash floods from Igboukwu, Oraeri and other communities flow down to the area and empty into ‘babuwa river’ which goes to Imo state.
“We have been doing our best as directly affected people and as a community to control this but it is not enough,” he said.
Chief Clement Ezeifedikwa, the President General of Ekwulimili who led journalists to the sites, said it was contending with four massive gullies and few smaller ones.
Ezeifedikwa who spoke through Mr Stephen Okeke, an elder in the community said urgent intervention was needed to avoid total erosion of the area.
According to him, they are in real danger and are calling on the international community and government at all levels to come to their rescue.