News / Africa

Nigerian Villages Threatened by Erosion

Activists say that at least 1,000 buildings in Nigeria's southeast are immediately threatened by erosion, which also endangers the economy and makes it much harder for people to earn a living. (VOA/Hilary Uguru)
Activists say that at least 1,000 buildings in Nigeria's southeast are immediately threatened by erosion, which also endangers the economy and makes it much harder for people to earn a living. (VOA/Hilary Uguru)
Heather Murdock
Southeastern Nigeria is littered with gullies caused by extreme and swift ground erosion. Activists say millions of lives are affected as some villages are cut off from the rest of the country while in other areas, local economies are collapsing along with a building every month.  

In the village of Ideani in Anambra state, the community town hall and the only school have collapsed as gullies are rapidly expanding. It’s now the rainy season and tropical rains will continue to dump on the region until September, digging ditches more than 30 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
 
Resident Ifeanyi Okeke lives about 100 meters from the nearest gully.  In his village, Abatete, he said a building falls every month and there has been no response from authorities.

“There are a number of buildings that are now threatened by gullies," said Okeke. "Some very near the schools. Particularly the one near the girls' secondary school.”
 
Anthony Chigbo, the head Nigerian research company Gallop Polls Nigeria Ltd., said 1,000 additional buildings in the Nigerian southeast are at “immediate risk” if nothing is done.

“It’s a physical threat. A lot of studies have been done, but it appears the government does not have the type of funding required to challenge the menace of erosion," he said.
 
Gullies entirely cut some villages off from towns and cities, slowing commerce and deepening poverty in the region where most people live on less than $1 a day.  To work outside other villages, people have to park cars or motorcycles far from home and navigate the gullies by foot.  
 
Two years ago, a couple was killed when their car fell into a gully.  But Chigbo says its not just lives and livelihoods threatened by the erosion.
 
“Children are no longer allowed to play like they used to play," he said. "Playing football or tales by moonlight for fear that they might fall into the gully and then lose their lives.  During rainy season parents are always apprehensive when their wards are going to the school because they don’t know, if it rains.  The rain might carry someone into the gully.”
 
Erosion is also tearing down highways and washing away farmland and other infrastructure in the already underdeveloped region.  Poor development planning is also a contributing factor to erosion, as gullies form in areas that have been stripped of forestland or where buildings were put up near what would be natural waterways.  
 
For the most part, locals say the only way to prevent buildings from falling is to brace the gullies with sandbags or dig shallow holes to slow the flow of water through the gully. But it doesn’t always work.
 
The government is aware of the problem, said Anambra State Commissioner for Information Joe Martins. But he declined to give specifics about what it is doing to help.
 
“The ministry is concerned and trying to checkmate it as much as possible," he said.  "The environment ministry and the ministry of technology, they are on top of it.”
 
The power of the rains in Nigeria, however, have long overwhelmed government efforts to prevent destruction.  Last summer, hundreds of people were killed and millions more were displaced because of flooding.
 
And as the rains get heavier with each passing week, authorities say this summer may be no better.

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from Anambra State.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid