Akwa Ibom residents flee erosion sites, allege fake road rehabilitation campaigns by govt

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Landlords in Nelson Mandela, Ikot Idoro, Ebong Essien and Udoette Communities of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have raised alarm over the exodus of residents from the areas as a result of the collapse of roads from severe flooding.

The communities which are within the Uyo metropolis are reportedly no longer accessible because of potholes and gullies caused by flood.

The Chairman, Uyo Oku Community, Ita Okon Inyang, who is also a landlord told our correspondent in Uyo that residents living in business and residential apartments have begun to pack out of the area for the impassable nature of the roads.

He said, “No one passes to anywhere when it rains at Ebong Essien, Ikot Udoro Junction near NUCO School, Okon Inyang, Ekpo Abasi, Nelson Mandela and Udoette areas of Itu. Most times, shops are flooded and owners suffer so much loss especially if it happens at night. As you can see, all the roads here and the adjoining streets are bad.

“Car owners are not left out of the sufferings as flood often spoil their cars, knock the engine even when they park inside the compound. Tenants are just packing out of these areas on a daily basis from both business and residential apartments.”

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He also alleged fake publicity on road rehabilitation by the state-owned media, claiming that the media portrays the roads in such a manner that appears like they have been repaired.

“It is wrong that state-owned media houses would announce that roads in our area have been reconstructed when it was only a small portion at Essien Inyang Street that was given a shallow touch which could not survive the volume of water flooding through Udoette and Nelson Mandela roads from Itam.

“The road collapsed within a very short time because the drainage provided could not carry the volume of water. Sometimes they will pour laterite as a form of intervention but it doesn’t hold because of the heavy flow of water.” He said

Also a Pastor of Believers Testimony Assembly at Nelson Mandela, Martins Uwa recounted how worshippers do not come to church anytime it rains.

“Most members have missed coming to church especially when it rains because the road is terrible and everywhere will be flooded. This has affected the church and we have spent a lot as a church at least to make the road passable but the more we fill up the potholes, the more the road it is broken. Most times, vehicles break down in front of the church which always subject the owners and the church as well to undue stress.” He said.

A shop owner at Udoette, Isaac John speaking on the issue said, “I can’t wait for my rent to expire. If it rains now, everywhere will be filled up, when people come once, they will not like to come again. There is no need for me to continue staying here because the road has affected my business.”

One Emediong Stanley, a seamstress at Udoette said: “the road has affected my work so much. People are not passing here even tenants are parking out. I had a neighbour who could not wait for her rent to expire, she left everything for the landlord and parked out. The worst part of it is when it rains, the gutters will be filled up, the stench oozing out from the gutter is not making us breathe well.

“My problem is that the government has announced on the radio that they worked on the Udoette road but these were all lies I have neither seen tipper nor sand. It was even the youths of this place that sometimes come around to do something.

However, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom Road, Infrastructural Maintenance Agency, (AKROIMA) Godwin Ntukude, (PhD) said Udom Emmanuel’s administration is a responsible government that would never lay claim to what it has not done.

Residents lament as flood renders Akwa Ibom monarch, others homeless

He stressed that the government has never announced that it has completed the entire stretch of Udoette street rather said it has done a few metres away from the big gully and stopped at the sharp bend hoping that when the rain subsides, it would complete the final wearing course.

Ntukude who said governor Emmanuel is passionate about sustainable development and zero potholes promised that the agency would go back to the site as soon as the rains subsides adding that no prudent manager of resources would embark on a road project during the rainy season.

His words, ‘the state government is waiting for the rains to subside. No road work can be best done during the rainy season especially this year’s rains that have been hazardous. You know that no prudent manager of resources would apply asphalt during the rainy season and obtain optimal satisfaction even stone base unless there is a traumatic situation you just do something that would not stand the test of time and it’s not good.

”His Excellency believes in the philosophy of maintenance and sustainable development that was why he reactivated this agency to maintain zero potholes in the state.”

”We have intervened in Udoette, a few metres away from the big gully at the sharp bend and we stopped there hoping that when the rain subsides we will come for the final wearing course since what is remaining are just potholes we will take it to Nuco secondary school. We have worked around to ensure zero potholes even the one in front of PHCN Edet Akpan, Nwaniba, Uruan street etc. I’m sure if we had left it the way it was, people would not have been able to pass through those areas.

“You can imagine how much we have spent, each time we finish, the rain falls and spoils it and you know how much asphalt costs, we came over to four lanes and tried to reactivate the service lane, we went into Udoette and attempted to do some meter square and we did not put the final coat we announced to everybody that the next time we will come, we will do it and will move to Nuco secondary school, we never announced to anybody that we have completed the area.”

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