The Umuchukwu community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra, has called on Gov. Chukwuma Soludo and security agencies to beam searchlights on the area to avert imminent crisis.
Mr Emeka Adinchzor, the President General of Umuchukwu Progressive Union, made the call while addressing journalists on Tuesday in Awka. The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that some members of Umuchukwu community recently staged a protest in Government House, Awka, during which they brandished placards showing their grievances.
Adinchzor said that in recent months, a section of the community had resorted to using the outlawed name of the town, Nkerehi, in publications such as burial posters, banners and other public notices.
The president general said that such actions were intended to ingnite crisis if not checked.
“Before now, we used to bear the name, Nkerehi, but after a religious crusade we held in our community about 16 years ago, we resolved to change our name to Umuchukwu.
“The process eventually led the state government to conduct a referendum for us in April 2007 which resulted in the adoption of Umuchukwu as our new name.
“Regrettably, some people, in spite of the fact that Umuchukwu is already gazetted and recognised by successive administrations, still address the community as Nkerehi.
“Some write the old name in burial posters, banners and other inscriptions positioned for public viewing, and the perpetrators even go about boasting in town that nothing will happen to them,” he said.
The community leader said if urgent action was not taken by government and security agencies, the situation might snowball into full blown communal crisis.
Adinchzor told journalists that some members of the community had recently protested in government house during which the Chief of Staff, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, received them on behalf of the governor.
“We are using this medium to appeal once again to the state government to stop listening to those calling themselves Nkerehi Community because their actions could result into crisis, if not checked,” he said.
Ezeajughi had during the protest advised the people on the need for peace in the community.
He said that some people were promoting acts capable of slowing down development in their communities and warned that government would not fold its arms and watch such people.
The cheif of staff however said the matter would be referred to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs for treatment.
The Climate Change Education and Action Programme (CLEAP) has said that Anambra is the worse hit by the impact of Climate Change in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Head of CLEAP, Mr Elochukwu Ezenekwe, said this at a Climate Change Workshop organised by the Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development Outreach (PASDO) on Wednesday in Awka. Ezenekwe said there was need to declare an emergency on climate change impact in Anambra.
According to him, the state suffers from flooding and gully erosion.
“Climate change hits us in Africa through various extreme weather and climate-related events that include drought, desertification, flooding and gully erosion.
“Drought and desertification are the least destructive and easiest to manage.
“Flooding is more destructive but usually allows for recovery of houses and properties when the water recedes.
“But for gully erosion, the damage is comprehensive and total,” Ezenekwe said.
He argued that with gully erosion, “everything collapses into the very deep gullies and nothing is recovered”.
He said that the disaster usually sweeps away classrooms, health centers, houses, crops, farmlands, roads, electricity infrastructure and livelihoods, amongst others.
“Anambra state suffers from flooding and is the headquarters of gully erosion in Africa,” Ezenekwe said.
Earlier, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, the Chief of Staff to Gov. Charles Soludo, thanked the group for the enlightenment on the challenges and inherent opportunities that could be explored to tackle climate change impacts.
“Soludo is also taking proactive steps to ensure that four million trees are planted in the next four years to check the negative impacts of climate change.
“We will engage the heads of relevant ministries and agencies to design the best modality for implementing the recommendations from the workshop,” Ezeajughi said.
In a remark, a representative of PASDO, Ms Chioma Nwafor, said that the programme was designed to galvanise action by educating stakeholders and actors at the community, local, state and national levels.