Calabar Residents Protest, Cry Out Over Abandoned World Bank Erosion Project

In Breaking News, CrossRiverWatch TV, Podcast, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

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Residents of the Ikot Effanga Mkpa E2 estate in Calabar Municipal on Saturday protested over the abandonment of the gully erosion remediation project by contractors.

The project, implemented by the Cross River State office of the Nigerian Erosion Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP is funded by the World Bank. And, the community accused the contractor, Ronn Anderson Nigeria Ltd, of leaving the site for over four months now.

While the residents said Mr. Frank Ayade, a sibling of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, was the owner of the company, quick searches showed that the company is not registered.

“They started work last year in January, and they stopped working like four months back. We want them to come back and start working and make sure they fill all these places so that we will not have houses falling again. Some of us protesting now are homeless. We are not satisfied with the level of work because the place they fixed has led to more erosion, and it is collapsing more than what it was before,” Inyang Umoh, told journalists.

World Bank documents show that the project area spans approximately one kilometer in length. And, Etim Jerome, a community leader, said the contractors should have left them to their fate.

“There was a road here, it began getting bad. To solve the problem, we began planting bamboo and then the contractors came and removed everything, and now, it is worse than before. Soon the rains will come and wash everything away including my house, we need help,” Mr. Etim said.

Other residents said their challenges have doubled and range from hygiene, to health, education and shelter.

“The erosion has led to me losing part of my house and the toilet, as well as my children’s clothes. Now, we are managing,” Mary, a nursing mother who spoke in pidgin with a weary voice, told CrossRiverWatch.

While Mary now practices open defecation, Mr. Abel Ogar said his kids have skipped school sometimes due to the fact that the ring road which linked the E1 and E2 estates to the major road has been washed off due to the erosion created by the abandoned project.

“I managed to use a shovel to create a road. When it rains, my children will always fall down while passing and their uniforms get dirty, sometimes they stop going to school” Mr. Ogar said. To solve the challenge, he averred that; “I have to carry them out before I put on their uniform.”

Ime Samuel, a handyman, said the joy expressed when the project commenced, has since eroded.

“When the company first came here, they said they will control the erosion and construct a road for us, we were happy, but now it has turned sour,” Mr. Ime said in pidgin, adding that: “Most of us don’t sleep at home at night, we are very confused, we don’t know what type of job this is.”

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