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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs