Godwin AJOM, Calabar
The five villages in Musaha clan in the Calabar South Local Government of Cross River State have decried what they described as a democratic injustice, rejection and abandonment, by past and present leaders at the federal and state levels of government, for two decades now.
Speaking to our reporter on the gully erosion menace in the area, head of the clan council, Chief (Ndabor) Paul Effiong Essien regretted that despite their participation in the democratic processes since 1999, they have been abandoned by successive governments.
He said successive governments both at the federal, state and local government had only made empty promises on the possible solution to the erosion disaster in the area which he said had split the clan into two, destroyed houses and forced people to flee the area.
“Right from the days of Olusegun Obasanjo and Donald Duke when that gully was still very small, that was when we started calling for assistance. Eventually both the federal and state governments could not help us.
“Donald Duke handed over to Senator Liyel Imoke, the same thing happened; only promises were made. We had several talks with government officials yet nothing happened. When Imoke wanted to leave office, about six months before he left, the then local government chairman invited me and other chiefs, but they politicized everything, they were not ready to help us.
“Eventually, the government of the state was handed over to Governor Ayade. Since 2015, we have not been quiet. But as we speak, in less than 15 months, Governor Ayade will be leaving office, yet nothing is done. Our entire community has been abandoned, no drainage control, no good erosion strategies, no efforts to control that gully, we are in agony.
“People have been placed in a difficult state and get no one cares, during raining season we truly suffer in this environment, the federal government should please laid wife the state to help us, we are begging , we are suffering. We need that gully to be eliminated, we need a drainage system, we need government intervention, we are also citizens of Nigeria please we need help.
“The gully in question is more than 20 feet deep and very wide; you can see how it is sliding down houses, it causes flooding. As we speak, many people have migrated from here, even those who are from here have resorted to self exile to elsewhere because they cannot cope with this disaster. Our message to the government is please help us. Please help us, our people are in danger, our houses are collapsing please federal government should come to our aid, all our tears, and crying is that the government should come to our rescue.
Our reporter who visited the area observed that the state of erosion in the area is very devastating and capable of causing serious environmental challenges if not curbed. Some of the residents appealed that a state of emergency should be declared on the Musaha Ekenya gully disaster, to avoid unforeseen circumstances.
A trader, Mr. Sammuel Okon said “we have suffered a lot. This gully will push over flow of water from new airport road all through to this area, it was not easy for us, please the federal government should help us because our state and local governments have abandoned us”.
A mother of three, Mrs Mercy Essien added her voice to it. She said “we have lost hope on this issue, the reason why I and my family are still here is because we don’t have other alternatives yet, most of our neighbours have left. We are tired, when the rains start, our suffering starts too.”
When contacted, the chairman of Calabar South, Mrs Esther Edet Bassey told our reporter that the local government in collaboration with the state government was working towards the project and that they were waiting for an approval from the state government.
“Yes we are aware of that erosion at Musaha, and it is not just Musaha alone, the one at Yellow Duke, and Palm Street are also in our plans.The last time we went there for site view, the deputy governor was there on behalf of the state government, myself and other government functionaries; we cross examined everything.
“So, we have sent our letters and proposals, all that we are waiting now is their response, once the state responds, we will do something about the erosion because even the one at Yellow Duke street, though the state government has attended to it but we need to still look into it especially now that the rain is about to start fully,” she said.