By Our Reporter
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has expressed concern over the blockage of its Calabar office resulting from construction works at a site in Diamond Hill allegedly grabbed by Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade to build his private residence.
The site is located behind the Hope Waddel institute and the former office of the Emergency Response Center opposite the Cross River State Governor’s office.
The Guardian reports that the General Manager (Corporate Affairs), NIWA, Tayo Fadile, in a statement, alleged that its Calabar Area Office is now been flooded with water and mud as a result of water diversion work by the Cross River State Government, handling a project at Diamond Hill, Hope Waddel.
Fadile quoted the Calabar Area Office Manager, Rufus Ogbonlato, as saying that the excavation/removal of the top soil to block the existing drainage started in May 2016, while efforts to get the attention of the State Government through written communication has not been fruitful.
NIWA wrote four times to Ayade on May 26, 2016; July 22, 2016; February 13, 2017; and March 19, 2017.
CrossRiverWatch could not confirm whether the letters were received as workers are currently on an indefinite strike which is on its 13th day with the Governor’s office shut down.
The contractor, Daiik Engineering, allegedly did not “carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is contrary to the environmental impact Assessment, Decree No. 86 of 1992. If, they did, they would not have done that job during the raining season due to the topography of the area.”
The Area Manager said the impact of the water and mud inflow to the Area Office has led to NIWA staff and clients finding it difficult to drive to the office. This is because sand has taken over the jetty, security post and the fence have been damaged and the waterfront that was 7.8 meters deep is now reduced to 2.5-3.5 meters, which is dangerous for maritime activities.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayade during the town hall meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo called on the Federal Government to allow the state “control our inland water ways if you say we are not a littoral state.”
It is unclear what the state is actually building at the site with Alumni of the Hope Waddel institute alleging that the Governor “grabbed” their land as earlier reported by CrossRiverWatch.
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