After the closing down of sections of the busy Calabar-Itu-Odukpani Federal Highwaydue to erosion and flash floods in several other parts of the State, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Environment and Petroleum Resources, Ekong Sampson has called on the Federal Government to intervene and help salvage communities affected by flood and erosion in the area.
The state Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Ekong Sampson, made the call during a tour of Utaewa, a fishing community in Ikot Abasi Local Council of the state, which was recently hit by the spate.
The commissioner, who expressed regrets over the situation that the people of Utaewa community had been plunged into as the result of the flood, said that such a community, which had contributed so much to the economy of Nigeria, could not be left to the state government in such situation.
“Our environment is threatened. We have seen for ourselves, but principally, Akwa Ibom is under pressure from the ravage of erosion and flood. As we speak, we have over a thousand flood and erosion sites in this state. So, that puts us under pressure.”
He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to look at Akwa Ibom State’s peculiar flood and erosion problems and intervene appropriately, adding that such issues ought not to be left for only the state government to address.
According to him, the Udom Emmanuel-led government of Akwa Ibom State has demonstrated a lot of commitment in tackling flood problems in the state and sued for partnership of national and international institutions to complement state government’s effort in that area.
He expressed optimism that with such co-operation, the situation would be contained to a great extent.
Sampson, however, lauded the World Bank partnership with Akwa Ibom State Government on the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), which he said, would soon salvage some major flood-related disaster areas within Uyo.
He urged the people to be safety conscious and maintain very high level of security alertness, considering the peculiarity of their environment, assuring them that the state government will not renege on its commitment to bring succour to the communities.
Meanwhile, Vice Chairman, Ikot Abasi Local Council and Chairman of the Local Government Emergency Management Committee for the area, Etop Enang, who stated that the disaster could be traced to the surge from the Atlantic Ocean, described the water surge as one of such perennial problems facing the coastal regions in the state.
He pleaded that the government should consider the strategic location and economic prospects of Utaewa and Ikot-Abasi and come to the aid of the people, especially in the face of recent worsening ecological challenges due to climate change.
The councillor representing Ikpa Ibekwe Ward 1 in Ikot-Abasi Legislative Council, John Akpan Uwah and the Utaewa Village Council Chairman, Emmanuel Udofia, who thanked the commissioner and his team for coming on behalf of the state government, expressed confidence that with his presence in Utaewa, the governor would be interested in the situation.
They said that if a proper embankment is not constructed before the proposed grudging for an international jetty, the entire community faces the risk of being submerged.