May 26, 2024

Collapsed road: A’Ibom residents lament, send ‘SOS’ to Emmanuel


Ini Billie, Uyo

Eket residents have sent ‘Save Our Souls’ message to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State after some roads collapsed in the area.

It was gathered that the collapse of Mkpok road during the week was due to downpours, which tore the gutters into pieces and then forced the torrents out of the broken channels.

Unfortunately, other roads like the All-Weather Road, Ediam, Idua, Umana Ndon and other adjoining streets in Eket are also been threatened and residents are afraid that as the rains continue, more roads may collapse.

Residents of Mkpok street called on the state government to urgently commence remedial work on the collapsed road to save their lives.

Former Chairman of Mkpok Village Council, Mr Franklin Udohuyo who expressed displeasure over the collapsed road, said the failed road started showing signs of deterioration about a year ago.

Udohuyo stated that prior to when the road collapsed, he informed Governor Emmanuel about the poor condition of the road, adding that if it is not urgently repaired, it would deter the people from voting in 2023.

“It was very pathetic the failed road started last year and nothing was done about it until recently when the whole thing collapsed.

“It is very unfortunate; if they followed the previous report, it wouldn’t have been to this level but there was negligence on the side of the state government.

“I don’t know how the contractors actually handled the job, I don’t know how the children at Mkpok Primary School will be going to school,” he lamented.

Udohuyo stated that the collapsed road has affected both businesses and the mobility of people in the area, adding that it is one of the major roads accessing five villages around the area.

He revealed that the contractor commissioned by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to construct the road failed to follow the contract specification for the work, adding that the job was done without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

“The workers came and started bulldozing the whole thing. The road was deeper below the culvert area and there was nowhere flood water could have passed through it.

“Eventually when it started raining, a flood couldn’t find its way out and the flood water had to go under the culvert, passing under it. It has been like that until the road recently collapsed,” he said.

Also speaking, Mrs Uchechi Boniface, a provision store owner along the road said she had lost so much money since the road failed on July 9.

She described the road failure as a big challenge to her business and appealed to the state government to urgently repair the road for her business to thrive.

“I am not making big sales due to the failed road. The majority of my customers live across the other side of the road. If I made sales of N100, 000 before in two weeks, now I cannot make even up to N20, 000. I have experienced a big loss because of the bad road,” she said.

Boniface decried the incessant pot-reddened roads across Eket, saying the bad portions of the roads were dangerous to road users and residents in the affected parts of Eket and its environs.

Speaking on the issue, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISafetyE), Mr Akaniyene Ekong said he had cautioned the relevant government agency of the impending gully erosion disaster in many parts of Eket.

“NISafetyE saw it coming and notified the government when we went to the location. The first thing we did was to put physical signage on the road to alert passers-by, pedestrians and drivers in Eket.

“The problem started when canals were opened and the velocity of the volume of the water increased due to bad contractor.

“That actually washed off the embarkment and the solid layers would be washed off and eventually curved in,” he explained.

Ekong stated that the idea of opening up waterways to prevent flooding was a good intention but then, the right measures were not put in place.

He stated that the flood has destroyed houses and property worth millions of naira, noting that though no life was lost, the road has caused untold hardship to the people.

“We can imagine the hardship pupils of the nearby school are going through because of the failed road in Mkpok axis. The road should be closed for now while remedial measures are put in place,” Ekong said.

Following the collapse of the road, Governor Udom Emmanuel approved an immediate intervention and permanent solution to the erosion problems in Mkpok area, Eket.

The Governor directed the Ministry of Environment and Solid Minerals to immediately commence work in the area.

Following the directive, the Commissioner of Environment and Solid Minerals, Mr Charles Udoh, said he has gone to the area to hand over the collapsed road to the contractor.

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