MOATS: ITS DISAPPEARANCE - A CAUSE FOR CONCERN


Leveling of Moat

Moats are historical landmarks in Benin City. Legends have it that the moats were dug by the giant warlords. It  surrounded the Benin Empire to protect it from invasion by enemies. Down to this day, you can see visible evidence of moats. But it now serves a different purpose- erosion control.
Sadly, moats are fast disappearing because of illegal human activities. In some communities, residents have turned it into a waste dumping ground, thereby filling it up with debris. Others  have leveled the moat to make the space available for sale.

Sometime ago, I witnessed the leveling of a moat at Ugbighoko community. I was surprised to learn that it was the handiwork of the community leader. This is not the first time he has done this. In fact, when he first did this, he built on the place that was once a moat. It would be difficult for a first time visitor to see any sign of a moat in that particular place. The effect is still been felt today: erosion that would have settled in that place have been dislodged, and finds its way to the major road.

Few years ago the government tried to demolish all illegal structure erected on the moat, but this effort was not far-reaching. The reason is that the demolishing squad never visited Ugbighoko community and environs. The nagging effect of the disappearing moats can be seen every day especially when it rains. The entire area is flooded. People cry out to the government to come to their aid, but unfortunately the government is not able to tackle the erosion menace headlong. The big question that is begging for answer is 'how do you stop greedy community leaders from leveling moats and thus selling it?' 
In the case of the one i witnessed, a resident informed me that they made effort to invite the state owned media house EBS(Edo Broadcasting Service) to the place, but flatly refused to come because of sentiments.
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