Engr. Nwachukwu, Director Ecological Fund Office; Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Senator Ita Enang, SSA to President on Niger Delta Affairs, inaugurating the erosion control project at Nduetong Oku, Uyo local government area, Akwa Ibom state on Saturday 18th January, 2020.

We suffered long period of unfelt gov’t effect – Community

Abasifreke Effiong

The Ecological Fund Office under the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation has inaugurated gully erosion control projects in Nduetong Oku, Uyo local government and Ikot Usen in Ibiono Ibom local government area.

The gully at Nduetong Oku had severed the linking road between Ibiaku Uruan in Uruan local government and Nduetong Oku in Uyo local government area and, remained a threat to the communities for more than 10 years before the intervention by the federal government.

Permanent Secretary, ecological fund office, office of the secretary to the federal government, Habiba Lawal, said the projects which involved reclamation and stabilization of 420 meters gully site at Nduetong Oku and and about 380 meters in Ikot Usen, cost a total of N1.07 billion.

The gullies in the two communities were about 30 feet deep at the time of intervention, the ecological fund office said.

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At the commissioning of the project over the weekend, Lawal represented by a Director in the ecological fund office, Engr. U. Nwachukwu said the projects were approved by the federal executive council on 16th August 2018 through a request made by Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs.

“This project was initiated through a request for an urgent intervention forwarded to the ecological fund office by the Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang in order to arrest the continuous erosion and flood menace in the communities and to avoid further environmental degradation, loss of lives and properties.”

Lawal thanked the benefiting communities for cooperating with the contractors to ensure timely completion of the projects.

Benefiting communities of the projects and owner of a private school which was threatened by the gully in Nduetong Oku have expressed profound appreciation to the federal government for the project.

The chairman of Nduetong Oku village council, Obong Aniefiok Samuel, said the gully made it impossible for indigenes of Ibiaku Uruan to access their community and lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the intervention.

“Nduetong Oku is a village in Uyo local government which links Ibiaku Uruan (Uraun local government) and Itu local. We are so grateful to the President of the federal republic of Nigeria for coming to our aid by coming to fill this gully erosion that made it impossible for the people of Ibiaku Uruan to access their community. We as a people have sent a letter of appreciation to the President for coming to our aid.”

The community however appealed that a second gutter should be added and channelled to the stream where the gully empties, noting that the volume of water that discharges into the stream through the reclaimed area was greater than what one gutter can take.

Students of Ekasus group of schools, Nduetong Oku, led by a senior student of the school, Master Ubong Essien and the school’s proprietress, Mrs. Joyce-Mary Udofia, said Nduetong Oku had “suffered long period of unfelt government effects”, before the intervention.

In an appreciation letter, the school noted that the gully deferred “a good flow of activities and business that could aid the development of the community.”

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Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs who initiated the projects said he came to know that gully has severed the linking road between Ibiaku Uruan in Uruan local government and Nduetong Oku in Uyo while returning from a radio programme.

Enang thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the quick approval he granted his letter for intervention in the two gully sites.

Inaugurating the projects, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said the projects have confirmed the federal government’s sincerity in addressing problems of rural communities in the country.

“The approval of this project by Mr. President is a testimony to the present administration’s promise that no part of the country will suffer any neglect owing to its geographical location or political consideration.”

“These laudable projects have indeed set the stage for remedial measures expected to stabilise the socio-economic well-being of these communities, therefore underscoring the federal government’s concerted effort and sincerity of purpose in tackling problems in rural communities across the nation.”

Akpabio urged the benefiting communities to protect the project and cherish the project.

At the project site in Ikot Usen, Ibiono Ibom local government, the entourage led by Senator Godswill Akpabio was received by youths who expressed appreciation to the federal government for the intervention, noting that the gully had destroyed the road leading to a hospital in the community.