We won’t wait for FG’s intervention in Eket highway gully erosion – Akwa Ibom govt

The Akwa Ibom State Government said it would not wait for the Federal Government’s ecological funding before intervening in the gully erosion at Nung Udoe, Eket express road in the state.

The residents of the affected area have expressed worry over the encroachment of the gully erosion which has already cut off the access road.

One Sophia, who spoke with our correspondent, explained that they discovered the gully erosion after a heavy downpour in the state about two months ago, adding that ever since, the encroachment has become intense as it rains everyday.

But the Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga, who visited the site for on-the-spot assessment on Wednesday, said the state government has mobilized Nigerpet Structures, a construction company specialised in erosion control, for an immediate intervention.

He said the government would not wait for ecological funding from the Federal Government because the lives of the people living around the area are very important as well as to protect the major road from total collapse.

The commissioner, who reported that many parts of the state were equally threatened by erosion, as intensified by the rainy season, disclosed that the state government has intervened in no fewer than 100 roads with nagging need for urgent intervention in recent months.

According to him, “Akwa Ibom State has many erosion sites because of its tropical location. Though the state government has asked for funds from the federal government to tackle the erosion menace, we cannot wait for the federal government intervention funds before moving into areas with urgent need.

“Since Akwa Ibom people are the beneficiaries, the government has to take proactive steps to ensure that the road is done early to give access to the people, otherwise the affected communities would be cut off.

“That is why we usually have contingency provisions in the budget so that when things like these come up, we can handle them.”

Prof.Ibanga said the contractor became an immediate choice for the emergency work considering its expertise in erosion control interventions in the state.

“Why we use Nigerpet is that they have the expertise for the project and the capacity to deliver on time,” he said.

The Project Manager of NigerPet Structures, Engr Eric Ese, said that the project would be completed within three weeks.

“We hope to complete this work within three weeks, all things being equal,” he said.

One of the residents of the affected buildings, Mrs Akpan said, “there was no sign of the erosion, but before we woke up one morning, after a heavy rain, about two months ago, we saw the access road split into two. Subsequent rains have caused the road to cut further and we have been living in fear since that incident.

“Seeing the Commissioner, his team, and the construction company which has been mobilized to site, we have hope that something will be done as soon as possible”.