In the last five years, flood water from gully erosion washed away about 200 residential houses in six communities in Cross River State.
Her Highness, Henrietta Efa Akpera, the clan head of the Akai Efa community who spoke on behalf of the affected communities, revealed this while addressing journalists on the issue at the Akai Efa gully erosion site in Calabar Municipality LGA of Cross River State at the weekend.
The traditional ruler, who expressed dissatisfaction with the devastation caused by gully erosion in the six communities of Akai Efa, Ikot Enebong, Enima Omin, Good Luck Jonathan Bypass, Ekeya in Calabar Municipality LGA, and Agiga Community, Ogoja LGA in Cross River State, urged the World Bank not to abandon the affected communities.
“In some cases the entire community is about to be ravaged by the gully erosion, while our children can no longer go to school during rainy season due to heavy flow of storm water.
“Our women too who are predominantly farmers, depending solely on their vegetable farms have also been deprived of their only source of livelihood and are now faced with abject poverty,” Akpera lamented.
The monarch urged president of World Bank to direct the Nigeria country officer to rescind the decision to halt the proposed gully erosion works in the six communities affected by gully erosion.
“We strongly believe that the decision of the World Bank to request Cross River State Nigeria Watershed Management Project to return monies meant for our erosion projects to enable the bank redeploy same to other states of the federation was not taken in good faith,” he said
According to the clan head, such a decision is the result of external influence, is not transparent, and does not bode well for affected communities or Cross River as a whole.
The gully erosion-affected communities urged the World Bank to come to their aid, as it has done in the past, rather than turn its back on them, especially now that they are in desperate need of assistance to combat the erosion threat.
Eno Ekapong, 58, who owns one of the buildings on the verge of being swallowed by the gully erosion, also spoke out, urging the World Bank to intervene immediately.