The Oasis Reporters
September 10, 2018
With the continuous threats posed by flooding, environmental pollution, indiscriminate dumping of
refuse and deforestation, a densely populated community in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria, is at the risk of becoming an abandoned and uninhabitable ghost town, a few years from now.
Kakuri a cosmopolitan town is home to an estimated 200,000 people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. Most of the inhabitants are traders, farmers and government or industrial workers.
Kakuri is also home to many industries in Kaduna and the whole of the north west. Similarly, the soil is good for agricultural activities such as tomatoes, vegetables, onions and maize. These are some of the crops grown in Kakuri.
Kakuri today is faced with about four-man made ecological problems, aimed at precipitating an environmental disaster.
Already most of the roads, streets and many buildings in Kakuri have been washed away by erosion, leaving only Air Force Road, Sokoto Road and Bible Society Road, untouched.
Similarly, farm lands have been eroded or washed away by the devastating erosion.
Another challenge that is facing Kakuri is the menace of flooding. Recently, no fewer than 500 residential buildings along 3rd Galadimawa Street, Kurmin Gwari and Makera were flooded.
It is an annual ritual for houses in Kakuri Community to be flooded but recently, the number of buildings that are flooded and collapsed has been on the increase due to the huge population, with an increasing pressure on its infrastructure, including refuse management.
Almost every street corner of Kakuri is riddled with huge refuse dumps. These dump sites are resulting to health challenges for the people around the community.
As an industrial hub, the industries in the area discharge obnoxious gases into the environment.
This also causes health challenges for the residents of the community.
Similarly, the industries also discharge effluents into drainage, water canals and into the soil.
In the same vein, residents habitually discharge waste and sewage into the drainage thereby polluting the soil and water.
Kakuri Community houses two major abattoirs commonly called slaughterhouses where goats, sheep and cattle are slaughtered for sale on a daily basis.
After these animals are slaughtered, their hides and skin, are openly roasted sending thick fumes into the atmosphere.
There are many factors responsible for the problems that residents in the community are currently facing which include indiscriminate building of houses along waterways and drainage.
Clearing of bushes and cutting down of trees to give room for construction purposes and blocking of waterways by residents who dump refuse and waste also greatly contribute to the disastrous consequences the community faces.
Similarly, the constant discharge of waste into the drainage, soil and water by industries and individuals help to weaken the soil as well as pollute the land and water.
If the issues are not urgently addressed, many more houses will be flooded and several others would collapse.
Furthermore, residents risk losing their source of livelihood as a result of decreasing size of farmlands in the community.
In fact, the Fadama agricultural scheme has been reduced to roughly the size of a football pitch.
There is the fear of epidemic as rats, rodents from refuse dumps invade houses of residents indiscriminately.
As the result of pollution of the atmosphere by Industries and abattoirs, lung related diseases are on the increase.
To solve the problems, the government and civil society organizations (CSO) should partner to construct good drainage in the community.
Also, the government should provide an incinerator for the abattoirs in Kakuri to reduce the rate at which dangerous fumes are emitted into the atmosphere due to the burning of animal skin.
There should also be strict adherence to the environmental laws by the people and the government should use agencies such as KASTELEA and KEPA to ensure strict compliance to these laws.
The government should also intervene to stop the final depletion of the last remaining Fadama in Kakuri
The government should make concerted efforts towards the reclamation of the forest in Kakuri area by creating a huge forest belt/zone where trees should be massively planted.
Similarly, an aggressive enlightenment campaign by the government should be embarked upon, which should be supported by journalists and CSOs.
It is believed that if these few suggestions are adopted, Kakuri would be on a path to overcoming its environmental challenges. Until then, residents remain in perpetual anxiety over what becomes of their homes and community as they struggle with human and environmental factors threatening their survival.
Written by Mike Odeh James.
A Kaduna based environmental journalist.