The Akwa Ibom State Government in partnership with World Bank is committing N14 billion to end the perennial flooding on IBB Avenue in Uyo and other adjourning areas within the state capital whose devastating effects on residents as well as environment spans over 15 years.
Commmissioner for Environment in the state, Mr Charles Udoh mentioned this while interacting on Correspondents’ Chapel Arena of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council.
Udo said the drainage project which covers 8.4 kilometres and transverses through 17 communities in the city metropolis will be inaugurated in August this year. He said the erosion and constant flooding of some areas in Uyo were man-made by people who built houses on water channels against the Master Plan.
Udoh also blamed the seeming failure of the state government to tackle the problem of flood and erosion to the failure of successive governments to judiciously follow the Drainage Master Plan for Uyo.
“Unfortunately, the drainage master plan for Uyo was not followed in the past, so today we are building an 8.4 kilometres drains that will take water from Atiku Abubakar up to the Secretariat roundabout, then link it up to the Women Development Center along IBB way, into Atan Offot up to the PDP secretariat.
“That drainage because of the volume of water around the areas, will carry 50,000 litres of water per second. That is what we are doing about the IBB flood project. We also sought emergency intervention around Etim Umanah and Anua which is expected to be completed by August.
“There is something that I want us to learn here, that most of the environmental problems we are tackling in the state are man made problems. For instance in the past 15 years, there been IBB flood problem because houses are built on water channels.
“That is why public education, sensitization is important against blocking the drainages with debris. We are also planning to bring back days of Sanitary Inspectors, the environmental officials whose business it is to promote environmental health,” he said.
The Commissioner said the Ministry has reviewed a lot of compliants about noise pollution, noting that it will continue in its public sensitization and awareness exercise against such practices.
He said soon, violators against noise pollution and other environmental issues would be arrested and prosecuted.
On the activities of miners in the State, Udoh agreed that though mining was on the exclusive list but the state government would not allow people to take advantage of it to destroy government infrastructure.
He stated that government would regulate the activities of miners in the state but not to witch hunt or put anybody out of business.
He advised those with licenses to operate to liaise with the ministry on how to carry out their operations, adding that defaulters would not be spared as government would not consider any ‘sacred cows’.
According to the Environment Commissioner, so many environmental laws are under review by the State Ministry of Justice in order to ensure secured environment, lives and property in the state.