AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS (EFFECTS) OF AGULU-NANKA GULLY EROSION, ANAMBRA STATE, SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS (EFFECTS) OF AGULU-NANKA GULLY EROSION, ANAMBRA STATE, SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Soil erosion is the systematic removal of soil including plant nutrients from the land surface by various agents of denudation. This paper highlights the social and economic impacts of gulling in the area. Social effects include; loss of ancestral homes, loss of school building, loss of church building and loss of sources of water supply. Economic effects studied are loss of farmland, loss of planted crops, loss of shop/business premises and loss of economic trees. The study intends to identify the percentage of the residents according to localities that have suffered socially and economically from gully incidents. It also intend to determine the relationship between adverse social and economic effects suffered by the affected people in the various localities of the study area. The loacalities studied include, Isiakpuenu-Nanka, Engwu-Nanka, Ududo-Nanka, Madonna-Agulu and Agulu – road cut areas. Data for the study was collected from two major sources; primary source and secondary source. Primary source of data are direct observation from fieldwork and the use of questionnaire while the secondary source include topographic map and library materials.

Descriptive statistical tools were applied to deal with the techniques of summarizing and describing data collected. Percentages, proportion and mean were applied to get other parameters such as expected frequencies and deviations from the actual. X2 (Chi-Square) was used to test the level of agreement of the results of analysis. Pearson’s co-efficient of correlation was used to analyze the relationship between the social and economic effects of gully erosion in the area. Findings are that The adverse social and economic effects of Agulu-Nanka Erosion on the residents in the erosion affected Areas differ significantly from the social and economic situation in the unaffected areas and There is no significant relationship between the social and economic effects of gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka areas.

The solution to gully erosion impacts is to treat it as a vital component of the broad issue of environmental problem management. This will be achieved with adequate knowledge of the environment.


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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background to the Study

Erosion is the process by which the agents of soil erosion wear away, eat into, loosen, or carry away soil material and transport it from one locality to another where it is eventually deposited (Egboka, 1991). Soil erosion is a complex process caused by wind, water and physical disturbances, encompassing detachment, transport and deposition of weathered rock. Soil erosion reduces land productivity, challenges agricultural sustainability and degrades environmental quality through contaminants attached to the sediments.

Soil erosion is caused and complexed by a variety of factors such as natural phenomena of neotectonics and paleotectonics, soil/rock features (pedology/geology), wind/water dynamics; and human phenomena such as population density, anthropogenic activities including engihanic effects (Egboka and Nwankwor, 1985). In the execution of colossal or small scale projects of Industrial or engineering nature, the textural, coherence and plasticity characteristics of the soil are not considered. Irrigation schemes, major road network, small and large dams, urbanization,


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deforestation, sand and laterite mining are carried out without cognizance of the warnings of environmental experts and/or professionals. Similarly, sensitive drainage areas, wetlands and flood channels are encroached upon by hungry land developers. In view of these activities, sheet, rill and gully erosion are known to progressively develop over several years. All over the world man is a more important agent of environmental change than Nature (Press, 1990). Soil erosion problems are now endemic in many parts of southeastern Nigeria (Egboka, 1991). Increased awareness of erosion impacts on land, air, water quality and global climate, raises new challenges for erosion researchers. In some conditions, these impacts are so severe that they reduce the quality of life and economic well-being, and can threaten survival.

Chemical and physical deterioration of soil have major implication on agricultural productivity and housing development. In Nigeria agricultural production is the most important source of income to the people. Soil quality has a major impact on the capacity of the rural farmers to achieve food security. Soil erosion increment results in an unsustainable development of the living standard of the people. Sustainable development is the positive socio-economic change that does not undermine the ecological and social systems


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upon which communities and social systems are dependent. Land provides services to humans and other life forms as well as providing raw materials in production process. Land provides waste assimilation services as well as other ecosystem functions. Land provides utilities for recreation, health, cultural and ecological cycles and functions.

The quality of available land determines its production potential and real value. Land owned by families in Agulu-Nanka is mainly used for cultivation and housing development. Soil degradation resulting from gully erosion in the area, economically results in loss of its potentials (Values) for food production and housing development. This is because the eroded soil is not naturally replaced without costs. This process leads to material loss and reduction of economic base overtime and may have long term consequences on the living standard of the people affected. Agulu-Nanka erosion remain a local problem for a long time, which later gained attention on an isolated and adhoc basis from affected communities and relevant Government agencies, hence the silence on the documentation of losses sustained by the affected people: There is therefore, need for study on the social impact and economic losses sustained by affected people.


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1.2  Statement of the Problem

Soil erosion is one of the most striking features on the land surface of southeastern Nigeria, especially in Anambra State. Several non-responsive human activities by both the Government and the inhabitants have culminated in the devastating gully erosion in this area. Some of these activities include, excavation of red earth (laterite) and sand in the process of sand/regolith mining, construction of roads without drainage channels, uncontrolled population growth and poor agricultural practices. Buildings are congested on top of groundwater recharge areas. The geology of the area (Nanka Sandstone) is composed of weak, friable soils which are poorly consolidated.

At Agulu-Nanka, each rainy season is associated with nightmares, particularly for inhabitants living at the proximity of erosion sites. Each gully incidence is accompanied by landslides and slumping, leaving at the end of each event inhabitants crying and mourning for loss of agricultural lands, ancestral lands, homes and economic trees. The cumulative effect is that the affected inhabitants are left homeless and/or jobless. The threats posed by gaping and daunting large gullies to farmlands, settlements, roads and human are enormous. Most communities in Anambra State have been


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ravaged by soil erosion of different dimensions. Sheet erosion is common and it has resulted in the reduction of soil fertility. Rill erosion is also common in many communities. However, in these areas they have graduated into gully erosion. The incidence of gully erosion is a common phenomenon in Agulu-Nanka communities. The inhabitants of gully ravaged sites have suffered mishaps ranging from psychological trauma to loss of property and life. Observations show that gullies in Agulu-Nanka are allowed to advance without adequate control efforts by Government, hence, the affected people watch helplessly while their farmland and homes are destroyed.

The incidence of gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka is not new, as it has formed a subject for research. Unfortunately, until now, most researchers are confined only to the factors causing gulling and control measures, keeping the losses sustained and other social and economic effects suffered by the affected people aside. It is of utmost importance to study and document the losses suffered by soil erosion victims in terms of social disruption, psychological effects and economic effects with a view to attracting Government, (State and Federal) to bring lasting solution to Agulu-Nanka erosion ravaged areas.


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1.3  Research Questions

The following research questions inform the aim and objectives of the study:

1.           What are the adverse social effects that are consequent on Agulu-Nanka gully erosion?

2.           What are the adverse economic effects that resulted from gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka areas?

3.         What percentage of the residents of various localities of Agulu-Nanka have suffered as a result of gully erosion?

4.         What is the relationship between the social and economic effects that resulted from gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka areas?

5.         How effective are the measures to contain the menace?

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the adverse social and economic implications of gully erosion hazards in Agulu-Nanka Communities of Anambra State, Southeastern Nigeria. The specific-objectives of this study include:

1.         To identify the adverse social effects that resulted from gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka.

2.         To identify the adverse economic effects that is consequent o gully erosion in the Agulu-Nanka


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3.         To determine the size of residents in various localities of Agulu-Nanka that has suffered adverse social and economic effects resulting from gully erosion.

4.         To determine the relationship between the social and economic effects of gully erosion in the area.

5.         To  determine  the  common  adaptive  measures  and  their

sustainability

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The research questions and objectives translate to the following research hypotheses that are applied to this study.

1.         H0: The adverse social effects of Agulu-Nanka Erosion on the Residents in the Erosion affected areas do not differ Significantly from the social situation in the unaffected Areas.

2.      Ho: There is no significant difference between the economic effects of gully erosion in the various erosion ravaged localities of Agulu-Nanka and the other areas.

3.          Ho: There is no significant relationship between the social And the economic effects of gully erosion in Agulu-Nanka areas.


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1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is significant for two reasons. First, the study intends to identify the percentage of the residents according to localities that have suffered socially and economically from gully erosion incidence irrespective of the dimension of the gully occurrence. Adverse social effects include loss of ancestral home; loss of school building, loss of church buildings and loss of sources of water supply. On the other hand, adverse economic effects include loss of farmland, loss of crops, loss of shop/business premises, loss of economic trees; palm trees, Ukwa trees (Bread fruit tree), Udara trees (African apple tree), kola trees, etc. Secondly, this study intends to determine the relationship the social and economic effects of gully erosion in the area. The study should enable decision makers, policy makers and environmental managers to evolve sustainable procedures for managing human activities like farming, road construction practices, stone and sand quarrying and harvesting in line with the characteristics of the lithology in the gully erosion prone areas.

Hitherto, the studies on gully erosion have established the general factors that cause gully erosion in the


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