By Egbe Attah
Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion Diocese of Otukpo, has cried out to government at all levels, as well as environmental agencies to assist in tackling ecological and health problems posed by indiscriminate dumping of refuse around its cathedral in Otukpo, Benue State.
Making the appeal while interacting with The Voice at the diocesan headquarters in Otukpo Friday, the Cathedral Provost, the Very Rev Anayo Jonah, stated that dumping of refuse in the canal near the church by residents has not only created gully erosion and flood in the area but also put the lives of the church members at risk.
He noted that if something is not urgently done to stop the unpatriotic act of the people, as well as rehabilitate the canal, the St John’s Anglican Cathedral, its worshippers and residents of the area would soon face the worst ecological and health hazard ever known to man in modern times.
“The gully erosion you see threatening the foundation of the cathedral is as a result of dumping of refuse in the canal. When the canal is blocked, the water cannot flow and it diverts from its course, resulting in erosion and flooding.
“We do not have peace in this place, during the raining season there is flood, and in the dry season we are confronted with fire and smoke from the burning of the debris. This is a house of God not hellfire,” he said.
“We, as a church have done our best to stop this unwholesome act by Otukpo residents, but, to no avail. We have reported the matter to the local government, to the security agents and others, The church at a time engaged the services of the vigilante group to guard the canal but as soon as they left, dumping resumed.
“As you can see, the bridge of the canal has been weakened by fire and very soon the southern and northern parts of the town will be cut off because this is the link,” the cleric maintained.
The man of God specially called on the Benue State Environmental Sanitation Authority (BENSESA), the state and national emergency agencies, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development to as a matter of urgency come to the aid of his church, even as he advocated for the revival of the monthly environmental exercise in the metropolis.