“I am just using this opportunity to appeal again to Kebbi State Government to rescue us from this erosion invasion before the situation gets worse.”
Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
Residents of Gesse Bayero Community in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area of Kebbi State, have over the years, suffered untold hardship in the face of erosion and flooding. Every year, they walk this daunting path, from May to early October, emerging out of it a little bit stronger. But the present challenge is beginning to weigh them down and there is no certain how far they can bear.
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As the season enters its crucial stages, they have become hysterical. Their homes have come under threat like it has never been before while the roads have become inaccessible. Each time the cloud gathers above or the sky is laced with lightening, their hearts skip in fear. They worry they panic. And if eventually it rains as it often does, it leaves them with bruises of discomforts.
A housewife, Hajia Hauwau Hassan, told Daily Sun: “What we are going through cannot be described by words. Once it is raining, we can no longer sleep at night.
I am always on alert to divert the rain to other areas. I have to fight the rain, push back the flood from invading my house all through the night.
“I am not the only woman faced with this ugly challenge. All of us in this community pass through the same problem. It is a communal plight. We keep vigil against the rain, laboring to ensure it does not flood our homes and destroy our meager property. The situation is the same during the day. Our husbands, having gone to work, we have to stay at home to protect our houses from erosion and rain.”
Alhaji Bello Muhammad, whose structure is under threat decried the situation and said they are helpless. He revealed that the landlords in the community had taxed themselves to buy concrete sands and debris to block and therefore control the menace: “The concrete, clay sands and debris that we have deployed to check the flow are already washing away, which means we must think of fresh blockage.
“The only way out natural phenomenon is for the government to construct our roads and provide the roads with good drainage. This community lacks the power and resources to undertake a project of this size, hence our hope is solely dependent on the state government intervention. We are appealing to the state government to revisit series of letters we wrote on this problem and solve it for us before the situation worsens.”
The community leader, Mallam Umaru Bayero Dikko, said: “Apart from keeping vigil at night, our men and women usually stay outside with tools like shovels, hoes, bows and brooms to control flood.”
Mr. Hamisu Bala owns a structure in Gesse Bayero: “For the past four years, we have been experiencing this problem during the rainy season. Those of us who have cars can’t take it out because of the bad roads. We rather trek to our various offices or places of work. You must be keep vigil once it rains at night except you want erosion to destroy your houses and property.
“How I wish you will be here when it is raining. When the flood comes from Abacha Bye Road through our main road, the pour like a big river overflowing its bank. We have written several letters to the authorities through the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Works and we followed these petitions, up to the Government House.
“Even Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was here to inspect this area a few months ago. Yet, nothing was done. We have gone to the state government many times with our request and complaint letters, nothing from them for the past four years.
“We told them to help us to construct our road with good drainage system. I am just using this opportunity to appeal again to Kebbi State Government to rescue us from this erosion invasion before the situation gets worse.”
It is instructive that during each election year, their travails would elicit different kind of attention politicians, during their campaigns for votes, would lure them with sweet promises, including an assurance that they would construct their roads and provide them with drainage.
Bala lamented: “But if the experience of the past is anything, nothing happens after the campaigners have assumed offices.”