Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Save our lives - Ewet, Eniong Offot residents cry out

Residents of Ewet  and neighbouring villages in Uyo Local Government Area have sent a save-our-life message to the state government to rescue them from the gully erosion menace that is almost rendering them homeless.

Already, the erosion has destroyed about 10 residential buildings, business premises, farmlands and economic trees worth millions of naira. 

Mostly affected are: Cardinal Ekandem Seminary dormitory, Pagus Hotel, Eniong Offot, Keniss Hotel, Eniong Offot, Sermony Gospel Mission, Ewet and a poultry farm owned by a resident of the community while The Apostolic Church, Eniong Offot is at the verge of destruction.

Conducting our reporters round the erosion site, the Chairman of Ewet Village Council, Mr. Moreh Alfred Akpan, said the gully erosion was caused by channelling of water from Uruan Street to ravine in the  area by a construction company.

 According to Mr. Akpan, “the situation was not always like this. The construction of the drainage has worsened the situation, the people now sleep with their eyes open when it rains and are worried about the havocs it will cause next year if the situation remains unchecked”.

 Eteidung S. I. Uwah-Umoh, the Village Head of Ewet, in an interview, who said the erosion will destroy a larger section of the community if not given immediate attention, added that, “the erosion which had destroyed about 10 residential buildings is beyond what the community can contain, appealing to the state government to address the issue.

 “It was not like this at the beginning of the year, but the rainy season has made it worse. If not properly checked, the entire community will be destroyed during the next rainy season.  It is scary, and we cannot do anything about it because we are helpless. The situation is beyond the community, and I am afraid I might not be here the next rainy season and my establishment might be destroyed as well. The government should come to our rescue.

“We have tried several ways to make government come to our aid and we have been promised that work will be done, yet nothing has been done. We now regard the place as a centre of attraction because people visit without doing anything to proffer solution to the problem.” Eteidung Uwah-Umoh appealed. 

Similarly, Mr. Ime Frank Akpan, a resident of the community and a poultry farmer lamented, “We are looking for where to live, my poultry business and farmland have been destroyed. If we wait till the next rainy season, it will take my house. We need immediate attention; the government should do something to contain the problem.”

 In an interview with our reporters, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Uyo, Mr. Effiong Charles Udo, reiterated government’s readiness to ameliorate the plights of residents of the affected villages, hinting that recently, the ministry had taken government officials and Senate Ad hoc Committee on Works round the state to ascertain areas affected by erosion and they identified more than 100 erosion sites.

  Mr. Udo hinted that the ministry has written a memorandum to inform residents of the affected areas of speedy evacuation from the affected area, while awaiting financial support from the World Bank and Federal Ministry of Finance.

 He attributed the problem to indiscriminate construction of houses and laying of bricks near drainages leading to blockages, which help to worsen the precarious situation, advising residents living close to the affected sites to desist from dumping their household waste in the gullies as well as channelling water to the ravine as it will further aggravate the situation.

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