Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, has said that Anambra State is losing its landmass while the people are losing their lives and means of livelihood to erosion.
The minister, who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, on an inspection of some erosion sites recently in the state, called for immediate declaration of a state of emergency on erosion ravaging several parts of the country so as to comprehensively tackle the menace, a statement said.
While noting that a state of emergency is urgently required in view of the devastating effects of flood and gully erosion to lives, property and the ecosystem across the country, she assured that they will ensure that remediation is carried out on erosion sites in the country.
“I want to assure you that work is starting immediately, hence this inspection. All contractors will be put on their toes, as we work with both the state government and host communities in this regard,” she said.
Speaking on the role of the citizenry in erosion prevention and management, the minister emphasised the need for continued public sensitisation and awareness creation on waste management, afforestation and reduction in green gas emission.
“We need to educate our people because a large percentage of the environmental challenges we are suffering today are man-made. We cannot blame everything on nature. What is happening to the climate today was caused by man,” she said.
Speaking, Dr. Okeke, expressed the readiness of their state government to partner with the federal government in its renewed efforts at remediating erosion sites in the state.
“Anambra is really suffering from gully erosion. We are the second smallest state in the federation. While Lagos is gaining landmass through reclamation from the sea, we are losing lands to gully erosion. Something needs to be done fast,” he said.
Also, the traditional ruler of Obosi Kingdom, Igwe Chidubem Iweka said: “Many people have died. Many homes have fallen into deep canyons. Just recently, three children were killed by this scourge in our community.”
He however commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of the minister, saying, “We are very happy, and see it as an act of God to hand over this very ministry to our daughter, where she can assist us alleviate this lingering environmental challenge.”