Seventeen communities in Akwa Ibom State are about to heave a sigh of relief from the bedeviling menace of flood and erosion, following indications that the 8.4km surface and underground drainage system under construction through the localities will be completed six months from now.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, who gave the assurances today at Atan Offot, Uyo local government area, while undertaking an on-the-spot inspection of the project, said the perennial challenge of flood in the area would soon be history.
The project executed by the state government in partnership with the World Bank, under the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), when completed, will ameliorate erosion menace in seventeen villages, across the three Local Government Areas of Uyo, Ibesikpo Asutan and Nsit Ibom.
Governor Emmanuel thanked the World Bank for coming into partnership with the state government to execute the project which he disclosed, will take over fifty million dollars ($50m) to complete
Stressing his administration’s concern with ensuring ease of living for the people, he said investing such humongous amount of money in a project that will mostly be buried underground, without corresponding visible structures to attract public applause, was people driven, void of political undertone.
“We are here today to look at this perennial issue that has been in this region for over fifteen years now.
“Concerning flood in this area, it’s only people living around here that can tell you what they’ve gone through over the years. We are in government to solve problems.
“We had a similar problem along Nsikak Eduok for many years; today nobody remembers that again. For this one, we are nearing completion”.
Reiterating his concern with timely and qualitative delivery of the project, Governor Emmanuel affirmed that the project was prefunded and tasked the contractors to deliver the project in record time and quality.
“I have to announce that this is one project that is prefunded, so it is left for the contractors to give us the speed that we are asking for, without compromising quality.
“I have Engineers in my team to give me on the spot assessments, whether the reinforcements are of standard and the environmental impact, because for a project that spans over 8Km, we can’t ignore the impact on the communities”, he stated.
He however expressed satisfaction with the amount of work put on ground, stressing that the strategy of pre-casting components of the project before bringing them to site for installation, will enhance speed and minimize the impact of the rains on progress of work on the project.
“With what I’m seeing here so far, I would say I’m really satisfied. Be rest assured that this project will be commissioned by December”, Governor Emmanuel stated.
He assured that, based on analysis of the environmental impact assessment done, the effect of the project on the environment, including the aquatic lives in the water bodies where the drainages will empty into, will be very minimal, adding that his government was also partnering other agencies to curb the menace of natural disaster in various parts of the state.
Giving an overview of the project, the State Commissioner for Environment and Solid Mineral, Sir Charles Udoh, said the projects has a drainage facility of 8.4 kilometers long, 10 metres deep and 12 metres wide, with covering where it traverses areas of high population density and perimeter fencing in other areas for the safety of residents.
Mr. Udoh said the drain line will take waters from the entre Atiku Abubakar way, Abak road, Ring roads II and III, IBB Avenue and the entire Effiat Offot in Uyo, through an underground drain in the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, across Ibesikpo- Asutan LGA to a discharge point in Nsit Ibom.
Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko, who was present at the inspection, thanked the Governor on behalf of his people and assured of their continued support to his administration.