– By Henshaw NYONG.
MORE than 30 communities in Akwa Ibom are likely to be wiped out by gully erosion menace, in about four Local Government Areas in the state.
This was discovered recently, during an inspection of the ongoing road construction works embarked upon by the Udom Emmanuel led administration.
Leading the team to the various gully erosion and road construction sites was the State Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang. Others in the inspection tour included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works; Dr Ifreke Ekpa, alongside Directors and Engineers from the Ministry.
Some of the sites visited included the gully erosion at the rear of Independence Hall in Abak Local Government Area, the erosion site at Nasco Road, Utu Etim Ekpo and another major gully at the back of Etim Ekpo Council Secretariat in Utu Etim Ekpo as well as an age-long gully at the Immaculate Conception Secondary School, Itak, Ikono Local Government Area.
The prone nature of the devastating ecological disaster, if no serious attention is structured toward arresting the awful degradation, Akwa Ibom might in the near future be completely carved out of the country map, due to the gory and virile landscaping carnage, which the erosion disaster is gradually
increasing by the day to claim more landed space to its expansion.
The reporter observed that each gully cut across more than five to eight communities, and to make matters worse, the erosion has cut off communities from engaging in their inter-communal activities, especially as it affects their daily local market businesses and cultural activities.
Apart from the erosion areas, most federal roads visited by the inspection team were in sorry conditions.
For instance, Ikot Ubo Ikpe Road leading to Ikot Usop community in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, the only federal road that leads to Ogoni from Akwa Ibom, an average traveler would say is another hell on earth.
Some roads in the State which were before now the economic stronghold of the “land of Promise” is now a shadow of its old self, no thanks to the deplorable state of the highway linking Akwa Ibom from Ikpe Ikot Nkon in Ini Local Government Area.
On the Ikpe Ikot Nkon – Arochukwu Road, the Commissioner assured the people of the area who came out in large number to welcome the team, that respite has finally come their way.
The road it was observed has been a nightmare to the indigenes and communities in the area since independence.
Mr Ephraim Inyang, while soliciting the cooperation of Ini people to the contractor, stressed that the long years of anguish faced by the users of the road has come to an end as the road would be completed and handed over over to the people in 12 months.
In Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, the Commissioner assured that the governor has ordered that an immediate palliative measure be put in place to alleviate the sufferings of motorists who have been complaining about the deplorable state of the Ikot Ubo Ikpe road leading to Ogoni in Rivers State.
Akparawa Ephraim Inyang who said that bad state of the roads was of serious concern to Governor Udom Emmanuel, assured that an immediate solution was put in place to solve roads challenges in the State.
Meanwhile, Chairmen of Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ini and Local Government Areas, Barr Emmanuel Udosen, Mr Udeme Wilson Eduo, Elder Idaisin Idaisin and Mr Itoro Columba alongside Traditional Rulers and youths in their areas who spoke at their respective areas, thanked Governor Emmanuel for listening to their plight and coming to rescue them.
While expressing profound joy that the aid is coming in their time, the people promised to accord the contractors the best assistance they require to achieve the work in a record time.
They equally, thanked the Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang for his dexterity in ensuring that the roads and disaster areas get the attention of Governor Udom Emmanuel.