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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Tears, anguish as erosion swallows N200m property at Rojenny Stadium

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. Anambra, Nigeria’s erosion capital 
– Senator Umeh
. we’ll start off palliatives while awaiting FG – Soludo
By Chuks Eke
 It was all tears and frustrations for Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, Managing Director of Rojenny Stadium and Games Village, Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area has as he stood helplessly and watched erosion menace swallowing property worth over ₦200 million within the facility.
Rojenny Stadium is the oldest individually owned Olympic size Stadium in Nigeria and the only one in the entire Southeast  Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria.
Commenting in the calamity, amidst anguish, Ezeonwuka who holds a chieftaincy title of Ogilisi Igbo, blamed the environmental disaster on the Stadium on the gully erosion control work going on at the Oba axis of the Owerri bound lane of the Onitsha-Owerri expressway.
The foremost sports facility investor said the flood path which led to the collapse of one lane of the road was blocked to prevent the collapse of the second lane, thereby diverting flood flow to the stadium.
According to him, my stadium which I built with my youthful energy for the development of youths in Nigeria is being destroyed by flood.
“As I am talking to you, property worth over N200 million have been ruined because flood water in the area did not hit the stadium.
“The control work going on has blocked the original channel which led to the collapse of one lane, now the entire flood is channeled to my Stadium,” he said.
Also  speaking, Johnny Obinnwa, the Manager of the stadium corroborated the account of Ezeonwuka.
He said every little rain now generate floods that rose above the culvert at the entrance gate because of concrete barricades that were used to stop vehicles from plying the collapsed portion.
“Water now pours into the Stadium from the expressway, our perimeter fences have all collapsed, the Ogilisi Garden is destroyed, the impact is much and cost is huge,” he said.
However, all hopes appeared not to have been lost as Senator Victor Umeh representing Anambra Central Senätorial District and a team of Anambra state government officials consisting of the Chief of Staff to Governor Soludo, Ernest Ezeajughi; Commissioners for Works, Ifeanyi Okoma; Environment, Felix Odimegwu, and Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Aburime visited the erosion sites and begged the federal government for an urgent intervention.
The erosion sites spanned from the Upper Iweka, Onitsha end of the Onitsha/Owerri federal dual carriage way, starting from the Metallurgical Training Institute, MTI, Onitsha towards Rojenny stadium down to Oba, Akwukwu, Oraifite an Ozubulu along the dual carriage way.
During his visit to the erosion sites, Senator Umeh promised to notify the National Assembly of the development, with a view to attracting the attention of the federal government’.
He also called for the declaration of emergency on erosion in the South East, saying that the menace of erosion was depleting the already small landmass of the zone which he described as the erosion capital of Nigeria.
In his own speech during the visit of the stste givernment’s team to the sites, Governor Soludo’s Chief of Staff, Ezeajughi lamented that there were over 1,000 active erosion sites in Anambra State alone, adding that there was an urgent need to tackle the Onitsha-Owerri Road erosion, as the movement of goods and persons wouldl be stalled once the other part of the road caves in.
He said: “We have over 1,000 active erosion sites in Anambra State. This is just one of them. We are acting on an emergency. because this Onitsha-Owerri road by Oba erosion wash-off is a major devastation and we are not waiting for the federal government, even though it is their responsibility”.
“There is no doubt that the people bearing the hardship are ndị Anambra, and as such, Anambra State government has embarked on intervention to arrest the situation before other measures.”
The state Commissioner for Works, Ifeanyi Okoma said: “We are in talks with the Federal Ministry of Works and Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA and they are already on it. But it will be a long process”.
We don’t have an option, we moved a contractor that will continue with the second objective, to stop further mudslides”.
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