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Abandoned Gully Erosion Sites In Uruan Becomes Dead Traps To Many

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By Godwin Jarkwa

It is now evident that Akwa Ibom State Government’s approach to development is very poor and incapable of bringing about good results. Most government intervention projects by the Udom Emmanuel administration are not only mediocre, but are politically orchestrated to score cheap point.

Over recent decades, significant progress has been made in understanding gully erosion, its controlling factors and associated processes. In Akwa Ibom State, we have experienced several impacts on gully erosion too numerous to state here. So, the Akwa Ibom State Government has no excuse for not doing enough to control some of the effects of gully erosion.

Yet, Akwa Ibom State Government does very little to control erosion and, in fact, goes to the extent of neglecting safety precautions and Environmental Impact Assessment reports before siting projects.

There are ample physical evidence of intense gully erosion that have occurred over time in different parts of Akwa Ibom State. Gully erosion is most severe in Uruan Local Government; there are at least three major abandoned gully erosion sites at Ndon Ebom – (Old Oron Road), Nung Ikono – (Ituk Mbang – Adiadia Road) and Nduetong – (Ikpa – Eman Uruan Road).

One wonders why the government has chosen to abandon those gully erosion sites in Uruan despite several pleas by the people. Because of severs erosion, communities have been cut off from the only access roads in the area. This raises a lot of concern and is unacceptable.

With reckless abandon, Ituk Mbang-Adiadia – Ishiet road has suddenly become a death trap. Till date, no safety materials or caution signs have been put in place to prevent vehicles from falling into the gully. It was reported that a vehicle conveying traders to Ishiet market, during an early hour of one morning, fell into the gully and many lives were lost.

Uruan people have made complains to Government about this reckless abandon through their State House of Assembly member, Hon. Aniekan Bassey. The lawmaker swung into action by drawing Government’s attention to that site.Government responded by putting caution tapes around the area and by providing nylon to cover the soil sufface.

We want Gov. Udom Emmanuel to clearly understand that erosion control in Uruan Local Government Area is a huge election issue that matters to the Uruan people. So far, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has failed woefully in addressing our erosion problem. There will be consequences.

Gully erosion is a lethal geomorphological process that causes numerous environmental and socio-economic consequences. And, most of those consequences are negative. It is posing dangerous environmental threats throughout Uruan Local Government Area, affecting multiple soil and land functions.

Assessing interactions between environmental change and land degradation is a key issue for environmental scientists, land managers and policy makers. Apparently, there is nothing like a collaborative approach or effort put in place by the Akwa Ibom State Government. Quackery seems to be promoted over professionalism.

There are many alternatives, safety and precautions to gully erosions; the government seems to ignore all, waiting to point fingers at the Federal Government.

— The best way to prevent gully erosion is to maintain good ground cover. Most erosion is caused by occasional heavy rainfall on areas without proper and adequate ground cover.

— Maintaining a minimum of 70% ground cover

— keeping a stubble cover of 30% on cultivated areas

— Stabilising knickpoints (points where the channel slope changes sharply) and gully heads.

Generally, three strategies are needed to repair gully erosion:
— Modifying the catchment to reduce or redirect runoff
— Stabilising gully heads, floors and walls with built structures, earthworks, vegetation or fencing
— Reducing stock access to watering points.

Measures to stabilise gullies must be tailored to the catchment in which the gully occurs. Rainfall, soil type, land use and catchment dynamics must all be considered.

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