There’s no doubt that the devastating gully erosion at Umunwanwa Umuopara community in Umuahia south local government area of Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia state has posed serious danger and threats to inhabitants of the rural area. A huge number of casualties have been recorded from the devastating erosion menace. Many houses and homes have been submerged, farmlands and constructed roads in the local area, linking to other neighboring communities within Umuopara clan have cut off by the natural disaster.
Findings during a tour at the gully erosion site at Umunwanwa Umuopara clan in Umuahia south local area of Abia State during the week showed that the occurrence is, in most cases, the natural outcome of years of neglect and insensitivity to the plight of the people. Physical remedy when the situation goes out of control then emergency efforts would not be able to check the menace. Naturally, once on its destructive course, its damage becomes extensive with each passing moment. At the end of the day, even the government would lack resources to tackle the devastating erosion site among other competing projects.
Obvious facts have equally confirmed that the Umunwanwa community has been on the precipice, and the rampaging erosion has, over the years, gradually and deeply eaten the land unchecked and is presently about to dismember the palace of the traditional ruler.
However, worried by the devastating gully erosion site at Umunwanwa Umuopara community in Umuahia south LGA, which formed parts of the Ikwuano/Umuahia extraction of Abia State, Hon Sam Ifeanyichukwu Onuigbo, representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, legislative and administrative efforts immensely made, to see the erosion is fixed, have yielded no fruit. Obviously, despite the lawmaker’s presentation and follow-up with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and other relevant government interventionist agencies to avert the imminent disaster at the Umuokpara community, Umunwanwa is still hanging precariously on the precipice of erosion menace. Rep Onuigbo is worried that motions and resolutions of the House of Representatives, as well as an interactive session with the House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) on the state of the nation’s oil and gas industry, had with the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari on the matter fell on deaf ears.
In regard of the devastating gully erosion menace at Umunwanwa community, the involvement of the NNPC and PPMC in particular, among other government agencies, is the imminent danger posed by the exposed NNPC pipeline in the Umunwanwa community. The erosion has washed up the pipes leaving them bare on the surface. The need for NNPC intervention, therefore, cannot be overstressed to avert a repeat of the ugly incident at Osisioma about three years ago in which property and precious lives were lost to the pipeline inferno.
Onuigbo had moved two motions on this same matter of urgent public importance (Order 8, Rule 4) and had called on the Federal Government to immediately take action to prevent an Erosion Menace.
Abia communities on the precipice calamity waiting to happen at Umunwanwa. These motions, according to him, were initiated in the 8th and 9th Assemblies to get the backing of the House at ensuring the Federal Government and its agencies took urgent action to address the life-threatening erosion.
His words during the lead debate: “Umunwanwa is a town in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State and has the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) pipeline passing through it, and the town has been devastated by severe erosion menace.
“The destructive effects of erosion in Umunwanwa are threatening lives, property, and economic activities in the area, coupled with this threat is the danger that the PPMC pipeline that passes through Umunwanwa has been precariously exposed by the erosion, leaving it open to an explosion at the slightest of impacts.
“The ugly petroleum pipeline explosion that resulted in the deaths of about 250 people in Osisioma, in Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State in 2018, was reported to have exhibited similar dangerous signals which were brought to the attention of the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or its subsidiary, the PPMC, but such warning alerts and several calls to action to prevent the deadly incident that happened were ignored or neglected.
“Umunwanwa is sitting on a literal keg of gun powder and except the Federal Government immediately takes measures to diffuse this, the looming mass death of those Nigerian citizens
might as well be equated to a government-sanctioned execution.
“This erosion site, among others, is at Umunwanwa in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State. I have been seeking all sorts of interventions, including some palliative works from
Anambra/Imo River Basin Authority. I have also paid for the survey plan and engineering works that were done for that site and submitted to Ecological Fund Office, yet no positive action has been taken”.
Chijindu Emeruwa, a journalist writes from Ohokobe Ndume Umuahia Ibeku area of Abia state. Tel No-09099157005