Abuja – The people of Orumba North and Orumba South in Anambra have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency to the unending erosion disaster in the federal constituency.
They made the request in Abuja on Friday when the traditional and town union leaders, led by the member representing the federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Rep Ben Nwankwo, visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The lawmaker told State House Correspondents after the meeting that the disaster was beyond the capacity of the affected communities and the state to handle.
He said that the disaster required urgent intervention of both the federal government and international agencies.
“We are here on a triple mission; the first is to commend the federal government of Nigeria through the Vice President on their very gargantuan input toward the burial of (late) Dr Alex Ekwueme.
“The second mission is to notify them of the war going on in Orumba North and South between erosion and the people as to who owns the land.
“While there is Boko Haram in the North East there is `erosion Haram’ in the South East particularly in Anambra state.
“The Agulu-Oko-Nanka, down to Umunze is the deepest gully erosion in the country and we have notified the Vice President of this situation; about 100 houses have caved in and hundreds of people rendered homeless.
“They are squatting at various places and we are asking for international intervention especially in the area of survey, risk assessment, mapping and ecological engineering.
“But most importantly, the site in-toto should be declared ecological emergency to give it the attention it rightly deserves so that the international community should be able to come into it, otherwise the next two years there will be more disaster.’’
Nwankwo said that the third plea was to ask the federal government to upgrade the two federal institutions in the area to degree-awarding institutions.
They are the Federal Polytechnic, Oko in Orumba North and the Federal College of Education, Technical, Umunze in Orumba South.
He explained that the request was to ensure that both institutions did not continue to produce manpower that would not be utilized by the industry.
The lawmaker stated that the request was trendy and international adding that more than 13 countries had such polytechnic universities.
Nwankwo commended the President in the onerous task of fixing Nigeria.
The Rep said that the declaration of the erosion emergency was not essentially a legislative process but one that could be started by the executive.
He said the communities had properly situated it with the executive domain and promised that when the leadership tabled it before the National Assembly, it would receive positive attention.
Nwankwo said that the legislative instrument that would back the request was already before the National Assembly.
The traditional ruler of Oko, Prof. Laz Ekwueme, added that the erosion situation in the region had continued to grow worse with every rain and called for urgent help by the federal government.
“We are pleading and praying and urging the government to do everything possible to start work on it with international help.
“It is beyond the community, beyond the state even beyond the federal government but it can initiate the process of getting outside bodies to assist.
“We are in the great danger of losing the whole communities and beyond; whatever the media can do to help to urge everybody to come to assist and to save our souls we will appreciate it,’’ the monarch said. (NAN)