By Bassey Anthony, Uyo
Residents of erosion-prone areas in Uyo metropolis have demanded compensation from the Akwa Ibom State government to enable them to relocate to safer places.
Asutan Street, Ikpa and Uyo Village roads are some of the areas affected by gully erosion. These places have been completely cut off from other parts of Uyo while some buildings are at the verge of collapse. Residents of the affected areas under the aegis of Body of Asutan Street Ravine Neighbourhood Landlord Forum pleaded with the governor to either address the issue of ravine encroachment or pay them compensation to enable them to relocate to safe environment.
They, however, expressed the fear that as the rains are getting intense, landslide may be triggered, saying more buildings risk collapse.
Part of the letter reads: “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 government Science Park and the Uyo City Polytechnic, a private institution in the state, collapsed due to encroachment of deep gully erosion, thereby rendering the place impassable.
Students of the Polytechnic, motorists and other residents have recounted the challenges and difficulties they face in crossing over the road.
Effiong Archibong, a villager said: “It’s very stressful now for residents of this village. Vehicles 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 Uyo, have been threatened by the flood menace.
The occupants of a story building at Ubara Street in the area were last week sacked by flood which took over the building after pulling down its fence. They however urged the State government to intervene in their plight.
However, the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals Mr. Charles Udoh has, in different forums, advised the occupants of Asutan Streets and other erosion-prone areas to vacate to a safer place and save their lives first.
It was gathered from the residents that no provision was made for their relocation by the state government.
But the Commissioner has already issued threat notice with the erection of caution barriers around the vicinity.
Udoh, in a statement, explained that the caution barriers were to prevent human and vehicular traffic from falling into the ravine.
The statement reads in part: “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.”