Nkweremiri Community in Obinikpa Achina, Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State, has petitioned the National Universities Commission (NUC), over ongoing construction at the proposed Peter University, owned by the Roman Catholic Mission, which is causing flooding of their community.
The community, which are mainly Catholics, said while they welcome the location of the university in the area, however stated that they would “like to be alive to reap the benefits, for a dead man has no benefit.”
They insisted that if the floods caused by the university continued, in a couple of years, their community may be wiped away from existence.
In a petition, signed by their lawyer, Chinwe Ezenwa-Mbah for Justitia Attorneys, titled: ‘Destruction of the Environmental Ecosystem by Peter University, Achina-Onneh, Anambra State, Nigeria, addressed to the Executive Secretary, NUC, the community said they noticed in the last two years of Peter University project, which is nearing completion, especially with the construction of the road from the institution to Achina-Onneh Road, they started seeing great flood water in their community.
However, they said the flood came to its peak during last year’s rain in 2020.
“The havoc the construction has done to our environment is better seen than imagined;” adding that “Peter University has jettisoned the channelization of the flood water as contained in their EIA report.”
According to the community, “The water coming from the said project is supposed to be channeled to the local Oji Okpo stream. However, to our dismay, this was not done by Peter University. Presently, the road construction leading to the university was stopped at the crossroad, with all the drainage and flood water coming from the institution flowing directly into the road and into people’s farmland and houses without any effort to bridge this in anyway, thus creating great havoc.
“Last year, during the rainy season, the rain washed away farmlands, domestic animals and over five family homes were destroyed, two of which, belongs to widows who have nobody to rebuild their homes. This damage has continued unabated even up till now.”
The people, who lamented that Peter University has not done anything for them in terms of benefits, but rather, “they have decided to bring misery to us.”
They said only last year, “we engaged the Catholic Church that owns the university and the Bishop visited, with a promise to correct the anomaly, as he saw the urgent need to ameliorate our suffering. It is very disheartening to note that all the visit ended on fake promises. Also of note, is the fact that 99 percent of us in the community are Catholics; it is therefore worrisome that this evil is visited on us by the people of the same faith, when they are supposed to protect and defend us.”
The community demanded the petition the university to immediately channel both their drain and flood water from their campus to the Ogborji road down to Oji Okpoo stream as contained in their EA report; the institution should help rebuild the junction of Achina-Onneh road where the water presently empties and which has been badly damaged by their act and now un-appassable; and the university should rebuild the widows’ houses damaged by them and compensate those whose livestock were destroyed;
They said, however, where the university fails to meet their demands, the community will not guarantee the safety and wellbeing of the students and the work going on within the community and the community will mobilize and stop all further work at the school.