THE Cross River State office of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, a World Bank Assisted Project, on Saturday stated that it had spent over N4bn to address gully erosion sites in the state.
The state Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, Mr. Fidelis Anukwa, made the disclosure during the inspection of ongoing work at some of the erosion sites in Calabar, the state capital.
Anukwa listed the areas of intervention to include gully erosion sites at Edim-Otop, Atakpa, Ikot-Ekpo, Nyagasang, and Ikot Anwatim, all within the Calabar metropolis.
He said the ongoing work, which had reached an appreciable stage, was carried out to save the affected communities from total collapse.
“We have spent over N4bn in addressing five gully erosion sites in the state. Our objective is to reduce vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted sub catchments in order to achieve environmental and economic security.
“For those persons whose houses were affected along the gully erosion sites, we have paid compensation to them through the state counterpart funding. We have also carried out an awareness programme to sensitise the people on the dangers of building along the water channels,” Anukwa said.
The state project coordinator decried the poor town planning in Edim Otop, stating that some residents built their houses along the water channels.
The site engineer of Edim Otop gully erosion, Mr. Patrick Ochui, said the work had reached 90 per cent completion and assured that the contract, which was awarded in June 2014, would be completed in September 2015.
Also at Ikot Ekpo, the site engineer, Mr. Chike Oleka, said the work was 42 per cent completed and disclosed that the contract, which was awarded in May 2014, would be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
In his remark, the Director of Erosion and Flooding in the State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Robert Etuk, said there were more than 200 erosion sites in the state.
Etuk reiterated the state government’s commitment towards ensuring that the problem of gully erosion was addressed to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
A resident in Edim Otop, Mrs. Deborah Okon, commended NEWMAP and urged to ensure completion of the ongoing projects.
A cross section of residents, who spoke to newsmen at some of erosion sites, also commended NEWMAP and the World Bank for their intervention.