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Community concerns threaten N3b World Bank project in Cross River

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World Bank PHOTO: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images


Community concerns may again threaten execution of the World Bank- sponsored N3 billion erosion project in Ikot Nkebre, Cross River State.

Work had earlier started on the project, but due to interference from some external forces close to the state government and the need to review the project cost due to new design, it was suspended in 2017, but work commenced in November 2019 when the issues were resolved.

However, residents of Ikot Nkebre in Calabar have expressed concerns over the ongoing execution of the World Bank-assisted Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) erosion control project in the area, saying they were not being carried along in the process.

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The Ikot Nkebre community, therefore, petitioned Governor Benedict Ayade to the effect that the contractors, NEWMAP and AKPAVEN, had blocked some access roads in the community without any plan to reopen them any time soon, contrary to the project design.

The petition, which was signed by two community leaders, Bassey E. Okon and John J. Egwu, dated March 8, 2021 and made available to newsmen at the weekend, revealed that the Community Project Inspection and Monitoring Committee (CPIMP) commissioned to work with the contractor had been made redundant.

“The committee was setup as NEWMAP requested in line with the contract administration document to ensure interfacing and monitoring with the contractor on execution of the project.

“Unfortunately, the contractor neglected the agreement and ignored calls for meetings to discuss identified irregularities. Without the project design, the committee does not know whether the contract involves reclamation and erosion control works.

“The committee needs details of the contract to enable it to monitor the project and report to stakeholders,” the petition reads.

They stressed the importance of the meeting and the project documents, adding this would help them to share ideas and technical knowledge, which could play a significant role in getting the desired results.

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They further argued that the internal roads and drainages, which empty their waters into the main drainage channel, were excluded in the execution of the project.

While commending the federal and state governments, as well as the World Bank for the project, the Ikot Nkebre Community said there was the urgent need for the stakeholders to meet.

Acting State Project Coordinator for NEWMAP, Inyang Asibong told The Guardian on telephone that she was aware of the Ikot Nkebre community concerns.

Asibong, who is also the state Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, added that the contractor informed that he had met with the community leaders earlier in the year and declined further comments.

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