Ekiti soil creep: Need for environmental baseline studies
Sir: The news broke as usual of a soil creep disaster on Thursday, September 21, 2017 and the response to it was apt for on-the-spot assessment of the disaster by the state government. It is gratifying that no life was lost but properties were damaged along the downward slope.
Premium Times among other tabloid reported that there was a similar occurrence in 1973 according to the Okemesi monarch and I am not sure it was documented for ecological and geological appraisal nor did it feature in the state’s prospective site for disbursement of ecological fund largesse. Such review if done and available should have put the people of Okemesi and state on alert that recurrence is imminent so they can keep watch for possible evacuation.
Soil creep is said to be a continual process with movement of 1cm per year; what happened is the result of accumulated movement that the soil could no longer endure due to the long hours of “undocumented” rainfall. Again, vegetation around the Agboona Hill may have been exposed or covered with trees with much weight; there is need to grow shrubs and trees (of lighter weight) to help in creating interlocking web of sand to keep the slope stable thereby reducing the chance of future movement.
Unfortunately, it is not on record the amount of rainfall at Okemesi during the time to have provoked the downward movement. It is also not reported that a team of experts has been dispatched to carry out Post Impact Assessment despite the non predictive mechanism. It is with much empathy that I hope the proposed meeting will be articulated beyond superstition and the affected family and or individual will have reasons to be compensated. The just concluded Sustainability Development Impact Summit during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York speaks volume of the much work to be done. Climate change is indeed here with us, we have had flood reports from Lagos, Benue, Rivers, Kogi and some part of Oyo and a few states. The flooding of Copenhagen in 2009 led all municipalities to develop their climate change adaptation plans and Copenhagen is better for it today.
Considering the topography of the state, Ekiti State and others must begin to look inward in ensuring that Local Governments and states prepares an all inclusive adaptation plans for review that will serve as predictive model and guide that can be domesticated towards sustainable development without crisis.
Soil creep, described by geologist as a periglacial conditions may have by default placed Okemesi, and if not many parts of Ekiti in the category of periglacial topography that should now be well captured as geological hotspot for academic excursion and research work for graduate and post-graduate thesis. I look forward to reading these interesting discoveries to set the record straight from Ekiti.
Gboyega Olorunfemi, founder of Enviromax Global Resources Ltd.
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