July 16, 2024

Ravine swallows three buildings in Akwa Ibom, threatens resident, access road


Ini Billie, Uyo

Three buildings along Ikpa Road in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have been swallowed by the fast-encroaching ravine, even as the lives of residents and access roads to the area are being threatened.

The incident has forced residents of the area to cry out for government’s intervention so that the ravine does not swallow people living in the area as well.

Speaking with our correspondent on Tuesday in Uyo, the councillor representing Ward 14, Oku 3, Mr. Mmenyene Abasi Michael Okon, said the erosion-cum-ravine was a big challenge to the community.

Okon added that to prevent visitors from falling into the ravine, youths of the area mobilized themselves into vigilantes to keep watch and direct people to ply the safe side of the road, noting that they have sent video clips of the area to the state government.

“We woke up to see this disaster. We have tried our efforts to organise the youths to stand here and control the vehicles going to Uyo City Polytechnic, Barracks roads, Calabar-Itu and many other places.

“The schools that are inside here, the students cannot have free access to school to receive lectures. So Keke stops here and then the youths will direct them on how to go to the other side so that they will not eventually fall into the ravine.

“I have personally spent four nights here because when it happened some people did not know that something like that was going on.

“So, by putting in light we have been able to save a lot of people from speeding into the ravine. This is how far we have gone.

“We have taken video clips and pictures of the ravine and sent it to the state government, and I believe that the Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has seen it,” he stated.

One of the tricycle riders (Keke Napep) along the route, Mr Joseph Umah, said since the problem started, he hardly goes home because there is no road for him, adding that each time he wants to drop money he calls his wife to collect money there because he cannot avoid crossing the road frequently.

“Since this incident happened, I have never entered my house in the afternoon because there is no road for me to pass. I tried the Urua Ikpa side, even though there is a problem. My family is down there, they used to come here and collect money from me. So, the government should do something about this road,” he said.

Another resident, who identified himself as Effiong urged the state government to intervene to save lives, noting that the district contributed largely to returning the state governor for a second term in office.

“I’m happy when I see journalists coming to focus on our road. Our road is not good. We are begging this government to come to our aid and fix the road because we contributed to returning the present government to power, but see now our road is not good enough,” he said.

Responding, the Commissioner of Environment and Solid Minerals, Mr Charles Udoh said there was nothing the state government can do to immediately remedy the situation until the rains stop.

Udoh appealed to residents to be patient with the state government, adding that the engineering drawings meant for the construction of the area have been completed awaiting the rain to stop.

“There is nothing we can do now. We can’t start work until after the rain because there is no equipment that can enter that place for now. I have explained this several times to the people that even if there is money, there is nothing we can do now,” he said.

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