By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Residents of erosion prone areas in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State are increasingly losing sleep, wailling day and night, seeking help as the seasonal rainfall intensifies following the menace of erosion that has either sacked some of them from their homes or threatening to sack with buildings caving-in.
Many of them defied government’s directives to vacate as the flood menace continued to threaten the landscape and the buildings around their environment .
The areas include Asutan Street, Ikpa and Uyo Village Roads which have been completely cut off by ravines while some buildings are at the verge of collapse.
Our correspondent gathered that instead of the residents to adhere to government directives to vacate the area, they sent “Save Our souls” message to Governor Udom requesting for alternative accomodation.
In a letter dated December, 17, 2020 and a reminder on June, obtained by our correspondent, the victims under the body of Asutan Street Ravine Neighbourhood Landlords Forum pleaded with the Governor to either address the issue of ravine encroachment or pay them compensation to enable them relocate to safe environment.
They, however expressed fear that as the rains are getting intense, landslide may be triggered saying more buildings risk collapse.
Part of the letter read, “The rains are getting serious this year and we are already traumatized that the advancement of the ravine encroachment will swallow our buildings leaving us homeless like refugees in our fathers land.
“Our dear Governor sir, we are in dire straits, please help us out of this nightmare, we cannot foretell what will befall us should the advancement of the ravine meet us still staying in the area.
“We make a passionate appeal to pay us compensation to enable us relocate to safer place than the ravine.
Similarly, residents of Ikpa road and its environs in Uyo have also raised the alarm over the collapsed section of the community road.
It was gathered that the road which leads to the Ibom Blue Sea Technology project formerly Ibom Science Park, collapsed due to encroachment of a deep gully erosion, thereby rendering the road impassable.
Students of Uyo Polytechnic, a private tertiary institution located along area, motorists and other residents have recounted the challenges and difficulties they face in crossing over the road.
According to one Effiong Archibong, a villager, “It’s very stressful now for residents of this village. Cars and Keke Napep carrying students and others have to stop one side while the occupants trek to the other side to board another vehicle, even trekking on the portion of the road still standing is a risk because you don’t know when it will finally collapse.”
Another resident who identified himself as Emmanuel Okon called on the state government to save lives and property by intervening on the road without delay.
“We are calling on the state government to save us from this looming disaster. It needs urgent attention because if it rains two or three times again, the buildings will collapse” he said.
It was also gathered that the people of Use Offot Village, Nwaniba Road Uyo, have been threatened by the flood menace.
The occupants of a story building at Ubara Street in the area were sacked by flood which took over the building after pulling down its fence. They however urged the State government to intervene in their plight.
According to them, for over three years running that the building became flooded forcing them out, no help has come their way from government to tackle the problem and save the building now under the severe threat collapse.
However, the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals Mr. Charles Udoh, has in different fora advised the occupants of Asutan Street and other erosion prone areas to vacate to a safer place and save their lives first.
It was gathered however from the residents that no provision was made for their relocation by the State government.
But the Environment Commissioner has already issued threat notice with the erection of caution barriers around the vicinity.
Udoh in a statement explained that the caution barriers was to prevent human and vehicular traffic from falling into the ravine.
The statement in parts, “This was to allow for site evaluation survey, development of engineering drawings as well as Bill of Engineering Measurements and Evaluation to guide the restoration works. These processes are currently ongoing.
“In the interim, members of the public are advised to avoid the vicinity, while motorists should use alternative routes.
“Residents, citizens and businesses in the affected neighborhoods are advised to remain vigilant and evacuate the vicinity for now.”