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The House of Representatives has urged the Ecological Fund Office to as a matter of urgency, intervene by assessing, awarding and ensuring the complete execution of erosion control and remediation projects in severe erosion sites at Achi, Umuhu Ezechi, Nkpa, Bende town Umuimenyi, Alayi, Item, Itumbauzo and other sites within the area in Abia State.
The House also urged the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to quickly commence the rehabilitation and maintenance of Akaeze–Igbere–Amaeke–Umuahia Road, Umuahia–Bende Road, Bende–Itumbuzo–Akwa-Ibom State Border Road and other roads with special emphasis on erosion and flood control; and
The Green Chamber also asked the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to quickly ensure the supply of relief materials to the affected areas.
It called on the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Federal Ministry of Environment and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to quickly react by deploying their various intervention mechanisms to arrest the situation and as well ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
The 9th House reached these resolutions Thursday at its maiden plenary presided over the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila sequel to the motion of urgent by Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia).
Kalu while presenting the motion noted that, “Bende Local Government Area, with land mass of about 601km2, is the largest Local Government Area in Abia State, and that the area which is largely agrarian produces in commercial scale for both the domestic and international markets.
“With the commencement of heavy rains, Bende, with a population of over 300,000 is seriously prone to and already severely affected by erosion and other forms of environmental degradation.
“All parts of Bende Federal Constituency, comprising of 99 autonomous communities, have been seriously impacted by erosion resulting to many roads in the area, including Umuahia–Bende Road, Bende–Itumabuzo–Akwa-Ibom State Border Road, having gully erosion depth of more than 150 feet and over 1 kilometer wide.
“Many roads have either been completely cut off or are almost being completely cut off thereby rendering them impassable and people are no longer able to carry on their normal daily social, economic, religious and other activities and as well giving rise to various forms of criminality.
“Many have been rendered homeless in parts of Achi, Umuhu Ezechi, Nkpa, Bende town, Umuimenyi, Alayi, Item, Itumbauzo and other severe erosion sites, while so many houses are severely threatened by erosion which will be catastrophic if there is no immediate response as this would render more of my constituents homeless.
“Rainy seasons, like we have now, over 40 per cent of both primary and secondary schools in the area are forced to close due to the impact of erosion, while parents are also forced to withdraw their children and wards from most of the remaining schools;
“With some gullies as deep as 150 feet, streams and rivers have been lost, sources of water for rural dwellers and farmers have been lost, several farmlands and farms have been lost, bridges collapsed, several buildings including homes, schools, churches, markets have been destroyed and remarkable rise in criminality thereby causing untold hardship to the people”.
Also at the plenary Speaker Gbajabiamila performed his first official assignment by swearing in a new member who wasn’t present on the day of inauguration Musa Sarki (APC, Sokoto ).
The speaker also read his first communication to the Senate notifying it of the fact that the Clerk of the National Assembly has written to the President that the House convened with a full quorum and was inaugurated on Tuesday, June 11, during which himself and Idris Wase were elected speaker and deputy respectively.
Meanwhile, the House has been adjourned to July 2 (two weeks) to enable members settle in and handle accommodation issues before coming back to face legislative activities.