The Akwa Ibom State government has inaugurated a $34million worth, 8.4km flood control project executed in partnership with the World Bank through the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The project, which transverses 18 communities in three local government areas of the state, has ended the 20 years of perennial flooding along Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) Avenue.
The project has also saved residents of Efiat Offot, Aka Offot and Attan Offot communities often displaced from their homes during the rainy season, and cut off the area from vehicular traffic.
Speaking on Tuesday in Uyo shortly before the commissioning of the project, Governor of Delta State and Vice-Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa commended the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for his courageously undertaking the project.
Okowa said Emmanuel may not score many political points for the project as billions have been buried underground, adding that it takes a leader who sees beyond the present to commit such huge resources to arrest a problem.
He noted that though the flood problem will negatively hunt the future, the project may not be visible to leave many traces for recognition and applause in the near future.
“This project is huge. I have had to undertake a flood control project and I know that the amount you put here would do several kilometres of roads.
“It takes a bold and courageous leader to do this because, after some time, people would forget what was buried underground. So, only great men who look into the future would do this,” he stated.
Okowa said the cooperation of the youth in supporting the project showed that there was hope for the country, adding that such a disposition will continue to attract growth and development to the state.
While speaking, Governor Udom Emmanuel commended World Bank through NEWMAP for partnering with the state in arresting the perennial flood problem, saying the flood had sacked many landlords and residents of the affected communities.
The governor said experts discouraged him from embarking on the project during a tour of the state in the early days of his administration when he came to
understand the ecological and flood challenges confronting Akwa Ibom.
“I was advised to leave this project that it has been there over the years. I told them I do not run away from challenges, I take them headlong,” he said.
Speaking on the project, the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Mr Charles Udoh said the IBB intervention is meant to provide a permanent and comprehensive solution to the problem of perennial flooding in the surrounding communities.
“It was done through the construction of a combination of underground and open reinforced concrete storm water drains spanning about 8.4km and designed for a total discharge capacity of 80.43m3/s,” he said.