Cries for help continue in Mokwa as erosion, flood swallow humans, properties
Welcome to Mokwa town, the headquarters of Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State. The town is on the A1 highway in the west of the vicinity of Mokwa LGA.
According to Wikipedia, the long southern border of the local government is formed by the Niger River from Lake Jebba in the west beyond the confluence of the Kaduna River in the East.
It has an area of 1,338km² and a population of about 244,937 according to the 2006 census.
Mokwa is a Nupe kingdom. Its leadership style is an emirship headed by the Ndalile.
At Efu Abebe in Mokwa exists a gully of about 1609.344m or 1760 yards, which is equivalent to the length of 21 jumbo jets!
This gully is a pure outgrowth of erosion caused by flood from rains.
Eroded grounds of similar magnitude can be found in four different areas in Mokwa town.
These areas include Kpege, AngwaHausawa, Eti Sheshi, apart from Efu Abebe.
The residents of these areas are far from being happy with the level of erosion that worsens and becomes more dangerous each year after every downpour.
Residents of the area said that some of these places, before the erosion set in, were proper roads plied by many.
Individual efforts have been employed to stop the erosion from escalating to this magnitude, but such efforts have obviously not been able to solve the problem.
According to Uthman Salihu Yamman, a resident of Mokwa, “This pit at Efu Abebe has been killing children and grown-ups almost every raining season. Even last year, a young girl fell in this pit and was carried away by the water. We recovered her body later.
“This gully became this worse when, during Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu’s tenure. The General Hospital, Mokwa and Rabba road were constructed and flood was diverted completely to Efu Abebe through Eti Sheshi.”
According to him, the manner in which house projects in new sites in Mokwa town are being done without making proper provisions for drainage is also a contributory factor to the worsening of this erosion.
People of the area say that government intervention has severally been sought, but the government has not positively responded to their call, aside from ceaseless video coverage being done from time to time.
The gullies in Angwa Hausawa and Kpege are of almost the same length and depth with that of Eti Sheshi and Efu-Abebe.
Residents of Angwa Hausawa and Kpege do not sleep with their two eyes closed during the rainy season. The resultant floods have rendered a lot of them homeless. The few houses that are still standing could collapse any time there is heavy rain again.
Considering the magnitude of erosion and flooding in the area, it takes the government to remedy the situation. Residents earnestly hope that the government will soon come to their aid.
His Royal Higness, Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu Shaba, the Ndalile of Mokwa, told Ecoscope: “There are two major erosions in Mokwa town. One in northern part and the other in the western part and runs through the eastern part.
“The concrete drainage around the general hospital in the northern part could not forestall the erosion, as runoff water has damaged the drainage. People use wooden bridges to cross the area.
“Some people built on the flood channel thereby obstructing the flood water. Flood has swamped their houses up to the window level. So when I became the traditional head of the town, I told them not to build on the flood channel.
“We have smaller erosions too apart from the two major ones.
“About a month ago, I was with the state governor and he asked the stakeholders to sit and deliberate on the smaller ones to be taken care of by the state government. The stakeholders have started meeting. The Federal Government will take the responsibility of the two major ones.”
Alhaji Shaba hinted that Hon. Usman Gbatamangi, representing the Mokwa/Lavun/Edati in the green chamber, “visited about three weeks ago and promised to see to it that the major ones are solved but this is the usual promise they make without fulfilment.”
The Ndalile said, “We started seeking for help on this erosion since Obasanjo’s regime when it wasn’t this bad.
“There was a time we even made a photo album of these erosions. We gave a copy to the Mokwa Local Government. Hon. Sani Kutigi who was our former representative in the green chamber promised to do something about it but nothing was done. Hon. Ahmed Abu, the successor to Sani Kutigi also came with some Chinese and nothing was done eventually.”
He added: “Now, the Ministry of Environment is trying to do something about it. We just hope that something is done about it this time around.”