Andy Esiet, Calabar
Bad roads, lack of adequate pavements and drainage to control heavy rain waters and flooding are posing serious threats to the N3 billion World Bank erosion control project in Cross River state.
The executive members of Nkebre Community Development Association (NCDA) in a statement at weekend raised the alarm as they observed that if urgent attention is not given, the good work of World Bank and its partner, Cross River State Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) may come to nut as heavy rain of waters and flooding into the installed hydraulic structures of the almost completed project is frightening.
It will be recalled that a section of the community that live in the lower part of Ikot Nkebre had raised an alarm over the quality of work and their inability to access the project design insisting that current work done if not redesigned erosion will sack over 50 houses and even destroy the main erosion control work by the World Bank and called for an urgent intervention.
Accordingly, the NEWMAP intervened in a meeting with the various community members and resolved to “liaise with relevant approving authorities to secure approval for the road and drainage and that Akpaven Integrated Services limited (the contractor of the main erosion control project) to provide the design and cost estimates for the works to be executed. The resolution of the meeting was signed by Henry Onwe, Francis Agaba for NEWMAP and the Ikot Nkebre community members.
Thus in a letter to World Bank which was signed by the Village Head of Ikot Nkebre, Chief Tony Nkebre; Chairman NCDA, Etubom Eyo Ita Eyo and Secretary, Elder Emmanuel Ewa and made available to some newsmen in Calabar at weekend said, “you will recall that as part of the key resolution in our earlier complaint/petition by some persons within the community, it was agreed during the State Project Monitoring Unit (SPMU) and Federal Project Monitoring Unit (FPMU) meetings with the community and other stakeholders that the two hitherto disintegrated communities should be integrated by construction and rehabilitation of access link roads.
“Consequent upon this, we hereby write appealing for timely approval of the job for speedy execution as this deplorable condition of the roads has brought untold hardship to the residents of Ikot Nkebre Community and also post a great threat to the finished sections of the gully heads and other installations due to lack of adequate pavements and drainages to control the heavy rain off waters and flooding into the installed hydraulic structures”.
They however said, “we express our profound gratitude and appreciation to your organization (World Bank) and CRS NEWMAP for their intervention in arresting the menace of flood waters erosion that has destroyed lives, houses and properties of Ikot Nkebre people and other residents. We also appreciate your recent prompt response /proposals in the area of roads reconstruction and rehabilitation which had suffered major destruction due to the construction activities at the gully heads and fingers”.
Former Chairman of the Project Monitoring Committee, Mr. Patrick Antigha Ene commended NEWMAP for wading into the matter but should look at the issues raised critically while the community members should try and talk to themselves because they are the ones that are most affected as it is not the issue of quarrel and bad blood.
Ene who was former Deputy Speaker in the state House of Assembly said the erosion problem started many years ago when NDDC did a section of the road and terminated half way despite his expert advice as an Engineer and today the magnitude is very high due to high storm event in the area, “it is proper NEWMAP and the contractor listen to issues raised and do a long lasting job”.