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ISSN: 0331-4111  e-ISSN: 2736-075X
Volume 19, No. 2, November 2021
Pages 14-39

DOI: 10.36108/NJSA/1202.91.0220

Response to Tragedy: An Ethnography of Gully Erosion Threats in Three Communities in Edo State, Southern Nigeria

1C.F. Okolocha, 2 L.I.N. Ezemonye, 3 E.C.N. Emeribe and 4 A.I. Ogbu
1,2,3 University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
4 Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Nigeria


This paper took its departure from a research project on a new programme to address gully erosion and its effects in Auchi and Benin City, Edo State, southern Nigeria. No public policy or strategy to address gully erosion exists and previous government amelioration has been inconclusive. We gathered sociodemographic and other data on 1900 respondents with a questionnaire, interview and direct nonparticipant observation. Among others, we found that gully erosion affected mainly the poor and powerless segment of society; material poverty is underscored by ecological poverty and there is poverty of interventions to check the disaster. Several extant practices aggravate the disaster and there is no communal ameliorative response. We conclude that affected persons are alienated from governments and their environment. Dysfunctional behaviour, nonchalance in the face of disaster point to fatalism and anomie. New policy should address poverty, community education and planning to stem overurbanisation.

Keywords: Affected persons, ecological disaster, gully erosion, poverty, overurbanisation

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