By Charles Igwe & Obumneme Okakpu
St. Valerian Akpaka Parish, located in the heart of Onitsha’s GRA Phase II, has been grappling with a formidable and ongoing battle against erosion that threatens to devour its compound, including the adjacent nursery and primary school. Desperate for help, the parishioners, led by their dedicated parish priest, Rev Fr. Victor Ezeanya, and the Chairman of the School Management Board, Dr. Alfred Osakwe, are now making a heartfelt appeal to the Anambra State government for assistance before it’s too late.
Rev Fr. Victor Ezeanya, the parish priest, painted a grim picture of the erosion’s relentless advance. “Since the inception of the parish in 2007, it has been facing serious problems, especially concerning erosion threats in the parish. Before, there were many roads that led to the parish, but due to erosion, those roads don’t exist anymore. Even the walls have crumbled. The nursery and primary school in the Church compound are also threatened. In fact, every building structure in the parish is under threat,” he lamented.
“The school is quite near to the erosion site. We are in danger, and we are asking for the government to assist us. In fact, most of our resources have been diverted to trying to combat the erosion. This year alone, we have spent roughly 10 million naira in trying to save our school compound. We appeal to the government to come and see what they can do to assist us, to protect this parish and the community of Akpaka at large. It is not just the parish but the community as a whole,” he added.
Dr. Alfred Osakwe, Chairman of the St. Valerian Akpaka School Management Board, reiterated the severity of the situation. “The challenges the erosion has posed to the parish are quite enormous. The erosion site is life-threatening. Our school buildings are at risk of being swallowed by the mammoth erosion threatening the compound. Despite spending a lot of money, it is beyond our capacity to solve alone. We call on the state government to help us by providing ecological funds to combat this issue so that our buildings will not go down,” he implored.
The erosion menace in the St. Valerian Akpaka Parish compound is not only endangering the physical structures but also impacting the lives and education of the students. The erosion has caused a significant diversion of resources away from educational programs, putting the future of the young learners at risk.
Residents of the area, including parents and concerned community members, are equally concerned about the impending catastrophe. They are rallying behind the parish’s plea for government intervention, realizing the broader implications of the erosion on the community’s safety and well-being.
The Anambra State government is now urged to consider the urgent request of the St. Valerian Akpaka Parish and School and allocate the necessary resources to combat this menacing erosion before it engulfs the entire compound, including the educational facilities and the cherished community space.
Time is of the essence, and the parishioners hope that their passionate appeal will prompt swift and decisive action from the state government to save the parish, the school, and the entire Akpaka community from the looming disaster.