June 24, 2024

Landlords flee as gully sink buildings in A’Ibom

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Ini Billie, Uyo

Landlords along Akpan Eton Street in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State abandoned their homes as raging gully has swallowed many buildings.

The landlords, who have retirees among them are seeking the intervention of the state government to save their homes and extend the ongoing intervention along Ikpa Road.

It was gathered that the growing ravine along Ikpa Road has cut off some sections of the road, forcing the government to close the road to vehicular traffic and begin remedial work on the road, but Akpan Eton Street which is located between Ikpa and Urua Ekpa roads is also facing many collapsed buildings owing to the gully.

Akpan Eton Street serves as a minor link road between College of Science, Afaha Oku and Atiamkpat, off Ikpa Road where some staff and students of the University of Uyo, Uyo City Polytechnic, and Cornelia Cornelly College reside.

The landlords and residents of the affected street in a ‘Save Our Souls’ (SOS) letter to Governor Udom Emmanuel signed by Mr Titus Jerome Udoh and Hon. Ekong Archibong Asuquo lamented that while many buildings had already been swallowed up by the gully, many others were on the verge of caving in.

They urged the governor to include Akpan Eton street in the ongoing ecological interventions in various parts of the state, adding that SOS messages sent to previous administrations did not yield results.

“We want to use this medium to humbly appeal that you please save our souls from a gully erosion which has eaten deep into our buildings, some of which had already caved in.

“Your Excellency, some of us are retired Civil Servants with children and our only asset is our house, now faced with the threat of being washed off at every rainy moment. You can imagine what life has become for some of us.

“It may be quite disheartening to see many Akwa Ibom families lose their homes, as we fear the entire street may not survive this rainy season.

“In the interim, some of us who are badly threatened have had to relocate our families to safe areas until the erosion and the fast-encroaching gully would have been taken care of,” the letter stated. 

Mr Udoh, a retiree whose fence caved into the gully in 2021 said he decided to temporarily relocate to save his wife whose health condition became complicated due to constant dread of the situation.

Another member of the community, Mr Kufre Daniel, explained that the gully started after an excavated borrow pit was abandoned by the construction company handling a project awarded by the World Bank in the area some years ago.

Daniel said since the abandonment, the pit has gradually grown, aided by the heavy flood water from Urua Ekpa, adding that the gully started swallowing up buildings about 15 years ago.

He revealed that one of the residents in the area mistakenly slipped into the gully while attempting to flee from some wild dogs in the neighbourhood.

He however stated that flood water from the area would continue to pose a threat to Ikpa Road if the water is not properly channelled out.

“The state government is sinking so much on the ongoing intervention works on Ikpa road, but we may still have to battle with gullies if the volume of water coming in from Urua Ekpa through the gully at Akpan Eton, down to Atiamkpat and empties into the ravine by Nabor Street is not properly channelled.

“This proper channelling is very important because the entire right-hand side of Ikpa road from the University of Uyo is bordered by a ravine that must not be allowed to cross into the other side of the road.

“Therefore, every issue of flood, gullies, and poorly terminated gutters need to be duly addressed to save both sides of the road from future collapse,” he stated.

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