Factory owners along Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe expressway and residents of Umudimkwa, Umudim in Nnewi, Anambra State are no longer at ease with the level of devastation erosion has inflicted on them. A particular erosion site there has continued to expand unchecked, destroying anything that stands on its way.
So far, two factories, a filling station and Nnewi Area Command of the Nigeria Police, are already threatened. These are apart from incursion into Umudimkwa, Umudim community where a couple of buildings will likely go down, if nothing is done urgently. Also, a tunnel built across the Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe expressway towards Federal Government’s incubation centre has been weakened by the environmental issue.
One of the factory owners in the area, Chief Leonard Maduekwe lamented the people affected were helpless since the menace had gone beyond the control of individuals and called for government intervention.
Maduekwe said his factory was originally built to produce plastic products but that he has since abandoned the manufacturing business and focused attention on trying to save the factory complex from being washed away. He said he had spent a lot of money to control the ravaging erosion to no avail.
“The erosion has been here for many years and it expands every year claiming more areas. And the worst aspect of it is that the underground tunnel built across the expressway to the Federal Government Incubation Centre is about to collapse. I know about the tunnel because my factory is there. Only a very few people known that there is a big tunnel and if it collapses, many lives may be lost.
“Apart from the tunnel which is about to collapse, my factory building, Nenco factory, Mobil filling station, Police Area Command and Umudimkwa community are all under serious threat which nobody should joke with. We had in the past cried to the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, former Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial zone, Dr Ikechukwu Obiorah and his House of Representatives counterpart, CID Maduabum when they were on seat, they did nothing including Nzuko-Ora Nnewi. It was all promises which have not been fulfilled till date and we continue to live in perpetual fear,” Maduekwe claimed.
Mrs. Joy Nwokolo, whose late husband was Chief Executive Officer of Nenco Industries Limited, told Daily Sun that her husband while alive, at a point spent over N3 million to stop the erosion but all to no avail. She wondered what she as a widow could do “at this point in time when the erosion menace has gone far beyond what it was when my husband was alive.”
She said the company’s factory site, a school in the premises and every other thing done within the affected area was at the mercy of the devastating erosion.
“I don’t know what to do again and if nothing is done urgently, our means of livelihood which has already been adversely affected will completely be no more. Government and its agencies should at least come and see things for themselves to be sure that we are not crying for nothing and then do something about it to save lives and our businesses,” Mrs Nwokolo pleaded.