Onitsha-Owerri Road erosion disaster: Anambra almost cut off, an SOS to federal govt

By Ejike Abana

Anambra State in the South Eastern region of Nigeria is currently at the verge of being cut-off at the Onitsha-Owerri road axis.

An emergency intervention call has been put out to President Ahmed Tinubu’s government owing to the life-threatening erosion in the location.

This owes heavily to a cave-in due to gully erosion that has washed off one section of the ever busy major federal highway in Ọba, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Presently, the affected area has been cordoned from the public. The only one lane of the road is in use, eventhough Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s Anambra State Government has commenced emergency intervention, to forestall the progression.

The ever busy Onitsha Owerri Road is a federal road that connects commuters from the Niger River Bridge to other parts of Anambra and South East states, as well as some parts of the South South states.

Chief of Staff to Governor Soludo, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi accompanied by the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Ifeanyi Okoma as well as his Environment counterpart, Mr. Felix Odimegwu, Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Aburime and others, paid an inspection visit to the location where they observed the cracks and slides of major meters down the ditch. Even buildings in the location are at the mercy of the erosion.

Mr. Ezeajughi used the opportunity to call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on erosion menace in Anambra State.

“We have over a thousand active erosion sites in Anambra State. This is just one of them. We are acting on emergency.

“Because the Onitsha-Owerri road by Oba erosion wash-off is a major devastation, we are not waiting for the federal government, eventhough it is their responsibility”.

He said that the people bearing the hardship are ndị Anambra, as such, Anambra State government embarked on intervention to arrest the situation before other measures.

The Commissioner for Works, Engr. Okoma revealed that on sunday evening, there was a report of slight washout on the road, saying that a team from the Ministry visited the location on Wednesday and saw the major erosion and mudslide on the road, called kilometer 8 + 100 Onitsha-Owerri road.

The Commissioner said that they observed that the progression was high, which made the engage a contractor to stop the progression.

“We are in talk with federal ministry works and Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA and they are already on it. But it will be a long process.

“We don’t have an option, we moved a contractor that will continue with the second objective, to stop further mudslides”, Engr. Okoma said.

He explained that it is an emergency situation but no formal co tract has been awarded for the work, stressing that it will be done pending the approval of the federal government.

The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Felix Odimegwu pointed out that Anambra is the erosion capital of the Country and asked the federal government to also increase ecological funding in Anambra State.

The Transition Committee Chairman for Idemili South Council Area, Mrs. Ify Obi appreciated Governor Soludo for the prompt intervention, but pleaded with the federal government to assist.

Stakeholders from Oba were also part of the inspection visit.