By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Residents of ravine-ravaged Ikot Nkebre community in Cross River State, have praised Governor Ben Ayade for the ongoing massive remediation work in the area, describing him as a Messiah.
The community had in the past suffered loss of lives and property to the open gully erosion.
A landlord, Elder Peter Atteh, who has been living in the area for 20 years told newsmen that the past three years have been filled with trauma due to the threats occasioned by the gully.
His words: “I have been living here for over 20 years. The Cross River Basin Authority first awarded the job to a contractor who abandoned the project without a channel. Then there was this sand excavation that made this place look exactly like what you see today. Some persons have died and many houses collapsed as a result of this open gully.”
Continuing, Atteh said, “we thank God for the governor, Prof Ben Ayade, who not only visited this place for an on-the-spot assessment.
“The governor was so sympathetic that he vowed that he could not be a governor and watch the situation remain the way he saw it. Today, it is being handled, courtesy of him. For us, Ayade is a Messiah and we thank God for him because we can now sleep with our eyes close.”
According to a staff of the University of Calabar and landlord of one of the buildings, Martins Agube, “we are happy for the state government that this erosion site is today being tackled. Many people have abandoned their homes here to save their lives due to the environmental hazard being experienced here. I sincerely thank Governor Ayade for keeping to his words and today, we are alive to see remediation work being carried out. Please, tell him that we only owe him our continuous votes.”
Another resident, Peter Ogbodun of the Ministry of Police Affairs, narrated the activities of some contractors who had paid visits to the site in the past three years, promising to bring remedy but never returned.
According to him, “many buildings went down as a result of the speedy collapse of this gully. Seeing the state government intervening today, we are happy. We are extremely relieved now because work is ongoing. It has been three years since the devastation and during this period we hardly sleep and when on outside duty we find ourselves restless as we wonder what the next story will be like. Thanks to our governor, Prof Ayade, who has finally come to our rescue even as we hope that the place be given a lasting touch.”
Earlier, Project Manager of the erosion site, Engr. Victor Obijiofor, explained that it was a remediation job aimed at rescuing the community from the menace of erosion.
He maintained that “the job is in different fingers as we classify it. This is one of the fingers and identified as finger one with others in other locations being worked on. The project is done in sections and what we are doing now is the dry season aspect which includes sand filling and compaction.”
Obijiofor who intimated that the job duration was 24 months assured: “We are not resting on our oars hence embarking on the job with speed in line with the specified design to restore normalcy. The rainy season will soon set and what we are doing now is strictly for the dry season.
Remediation job in the gully site is done by the Cross River State government in collaboration with the World Bank.”