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…Calls for speedy FG intervention
…Says Anambra one of most secure states
The Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, on Wednesday, said erosion and other ecological threats are gnawing at 30 to 40 per cent of the state’s landmass.
Soludo who described Anambra as the erosion capital of Nigeria called for a speedy intervention from the Federal Government and other development partners.
The governor disclosed this to State House Correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The former Central Bank Governor who argued that only an urgent intervention from the FG and other development partners can salvage the situation said his administration is introducing better environmental awareness among the people to limit the challenge.
He said, “The environment is our number one existential threat, other than security, and Anambra is the erosion capital of Nigeria.
“Perhaps, you might know that about 30% to 40% of our land is under threat of erosion, there’s no other state like Anambra when it comes to erosion. Even last week somewhere between Ezinhifite/Osumenyin Road was cut off again and several huge gullies everywhere; Obosi, Oko, Nanka, Aguolo, everywhere, there’s erosion menace.
“As I said, while our landmass is shrinking massively due to erosion and so on, it’s far beyond the capacity of a state government to deal with. Even if you were to sink the entire budget of the state for the next ten years into dealing with the gully erosion in the state, it will still be like a drop in the ocean.”
Soludo said the state government is poised to “partner effectively with the federal government” and other development partners to address the issue.
“It is a state of emergency, with regards to erosion. And of course, we’re also promoting this concept of responsible citizenship on the part of our people, to be able to take some responsible steps.
“We are providing some regulations; people controlling the runoff water from their homes, they don’t just pipe them and get them off on the streets. Of course, they must go somewhere, contain it within your place. Building controls; will designate drain versus buildable areas, and so on and so forth.
“Then, of course, trying to tackle these things with early warning signals, and we’ll begin to tackle them. Clean up our drainages and make sure we channel runoff waters down to rivers and so on and so forth and not let them percolate on the road or try to go to unwanted places and so on and so forth,” he said.
On the security of his state, Soludo argued that Anambra ranks among the five to ten most secure states in the country.
According to him, most of the criminal rings in the state had been degraded with kidnappers’ camps and other organised criminal gangs uprooted.
“You’ll have the information that Anambra is quiet. It’s enjoying relative peace, and I will bet you that it’s probably, if you rank the 36 states, in terms of security of life and property, Anambra will rank in the top five, the top 10, or there about. From when we came, it’s a sea change, it’s like the difference between day and night.
“On a daily basis, there used to be kidnappings, killings. and so on. There were more than 15 camps all over in the southern senatorial zone, plus Ogbaru and I think they have been uprooted from those places. Anambra is relatively peaceful.
“About a week or so ago, a senator’s convoy was attacked, we’re trying to get to the bottom of it. We are now at a position where we’re able to get to the bottom of much of those kinds of organised criminality, but in terms of the kind of force that they have, I think that has been largely degraded. About 8.5 or 9 million people go about their peaceful businesses every day in the state,” he said.
Fielding a question on the disappearance of the Labour Party governorship candidate in the last state election, Mr Obiora Agbasimalo, Soludo said: “The security agencies are on top of the matter, they’re investigating very seriously. Remember, the guy was a candidate like myself. We were all campaigning together. He was in the Labour Party, I was in APGA.
“I heard of his abduction then, that was about a year ago, and I took over only about a few months ago, but even at that, it has been brought to my attention and we’ve actually had the wife visit us at the lodge. I think the security agencies are digging deeper and deeper.”