People of Umudim village in Ekwulumili, Nnewi South Local Government of Anambra State say they are living in constant fear over the gully erosion sweeping away homes and farmlands in the area.
Ekwulumili is an agrarian community with a large population of indigenous people and shares borders with Amichi, Igboukwu, Unubi, Akwaihedi and Orsumoghu.
A correspondent who visited some of the sites reports that the massive gully measuring several metres in width and depth is expanding speedily.
Some of the people directly affected by the disaster said they have lost their ancestral land where they were supposed to build on and cultivate.
Mrs Charity Ezeoke, who lives on the side of the erosion, said they live in constant fear of losing their houses the erosion is only a few metres away from their houses.
Ezeoke said the erosion has been there since she was a young girl and that efforts made to correct it had failed.
She called on the Anambra State Government to relocate them before they lose their lives and properties.
“Whenever it rains, the way it pulls trees and earth sounds like an earthquake and makes us live in fear all the time.
“Government should help us control the erosion or even come and evacuate us because we don’t have peace,” she said.
Mr Chukwura Ntagu, an indigene of the town, said the gully had cut them off from their brothers and sisters in neighbouring Umudim village in Amichi whom they have lived and interacted with for ages.
Ntagu said many people have left the town due to the erosion threat while most people are homeless because their lands have been washed away.
“It was not as big as this in the past, we used to pass through this place to Ochi in Amichi where we used to have our match past but it has continued to grow.
“This place where I am standing is my ‘ala obi’ (land inheritance) where I am supposed to build and farm but it has been washed off.
“Those of us who live on the bank of the erosion don’t sleep whenever it rains, many families have lost their homes and ran to their family members in other locations,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Onyeka Ikejiaku described the situation as a disaster which has negatively affected their livelihood, economic activities and social development.
Ikejiaku said his people are predominantly farmers, and their brothers on other side of the gully cannot evacuate their produce because the roads had been cut off.
“A number of government officials and agencies have been visiting but nothing has been done, that is why we are calling on the Federal Government and State Government to come to our rescue.
“All the flash floods from Igboukwu, Oraeri and other communities flow down to the area and empty into ‘babuwa river’ which goes to Imo state.
“We have been doing our best as directly affected people and as a community to control this but it is not enough,” he said.
Mr Stephen Okeke, an elder in the community, who led journalists to the sites, said it was contending with four massive gullies and few smaller ones.
Okeke said urgent intervention is needed to avoid total erosion of the area.
According to him, “our people cannot build houses or factories because they have lost their lands. A lot of them have left their ancestral homes and relocated to places where they bought land.
“We are in real danger and we are calling on the international community and governments at all levels to come to our rescue,” he said.
By Chimezie Anaso