WATCH VIDEO: Residents Wail As Erosion Threatens To Cut Off Ikwuano Ibere, Abia’s Food Basket
There is fear that Iberenta Ibere in Oro Autonomous Community in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia state, which is described as the food basket of the state, may be cut off from the map if the daring erosion challenge is not tackled within the shortest period of time.
Despite the community having numerous economic values as they are producers of garri, palm oil, cocoa, timber, all in commercial quantity, they live in fear and isolation owing to bad roads and erosion which gets them trapped for at least two days whenever it rains.
On a visit to the community on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, ALL FACTS NEWSPAPER (AFNEWS), experienced the difficulty the community members encounter trying to navigate the road to their farms, markets and the urban areas.
This dilemma has also affected water supply in the community as drilling of boreholes which is now the major source of water has been stopped.
Health workers, corps members who are posted to the community immediately apply for transfer or redeployment as they cannot cope with the condition in the community.
AFNEWS sighted the community secondary school, a cottage hospital/maternity, churches and houses which would be cut off if the erosion and bad road challenges are not fixed.
Speaking to AFNEWS, the traditional ruler of Oro autonomous community in Oro Ibere in Ikwuano LGA, His Royal Highness, Dr Uchenwa Stanley, revealed that the community, especially their sons and daughters in the diaspora,have spent about N100million to remedy the problems which has lasted for generations all to no avail.
The monarch noted that the palliative works the community do on the roads and erosion site breaks down when it rains.
He pleaded with governor Alex Otti whom he described as a listening governor, the Federal Government, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to quickly intervene and rescue the people of Ikwuano who are now endangered.
” When you talk about export produces; cocoa, palm oil, etc, it is from this Oro community. But today, it is very difficult for us to move.
“This is the only road we have” the monarch pleaded.
Speaking also, a film maker in his 50s, Mr Paschal Atuma a native of Iberenta Ibere in Ikwuano LGA lamented that despite the state producing numerous economic produces, the road has remained the same since he was a child.
He noted that the damage has surpassed the capacity of individuals and groups especially their sons and daughters living in the diaspora who have been contributing from their pockets to manage the situation.
“Politicians have used the erosion site and the bad roads to campaign severally, yet it has not been fixed” he regretted.
On her own part; Mrs Mabel Igbo said;
“We have been facing very serious problems. If nothing is done about this road, we may be cut off. We have gullies and valleys all over the place. During raining season, we do not come out. The road is slippery.”
Some of the other community members who spoke to ALL FACTS NEWSPAPER in the likes of Chief Raphael Akaka, Ejikeme Dike Onwuzirike, Monday Michael, Mrs Gold Ihensouche wailed over the plights of the community owing to the road condition.
“Since the 1960’s when I was born, this road has never been good despite the fact that we produce cocoa and other products. One of our sons who returned from abroad, lost his life. Government should come and help us” Onwuzirike pleaded.