World Bank to resume work at N3.1b Cross River erosion site
Work will soon resume at the N3.1 billion Ikot-Nkebre erosion site in Calabar Municipality, Cross River State, which was abandoned two years ago.
Chairman of Ikot-Nkebre Community Development Association (CDA), Etubom Eyo Ita Eyo, disclosed this to newsmen at the weekend.
The contract for the erosion-ravaged site was awarded in 2017 to Akpaven Construction Company, but was put on hold, as the state government did not release its about N500 million counterpart funding.
It was also alleged that the state government was holding on to its counterpart funding due to a squabble between the contractor and the governor’s relation who was reportedly interested in the job.
Following the squabble, the erosion kept gaining ground and the community accused the state government and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) of not showing any urgency in addressing their plight.
The disaster claimed houses, crops and farmlands. The remaining houses hang dangerously on the cliff without occupants.
“NEWMAP introduced Akpaven to us in 2017 and the company has been working at its own pace. We are not impressed considering the magnitude of the job. If you go through the impact assessment, about 45 houses and 21 farmlands with economic trees were consumed,” Eyo said, expressing hope that work in the area would start soon.
But Project Coordinator of NEWMAP in the state, Dr. Fidelis Anukwa, had last year explained that the contract, which was awarded during the rains, kept the contractor from mobilising to site and made the erosion to cause more havoc.
“So, when the contractor came, he could not work because of the expansion of the erosion,” he said.
Anukwa also fingered the issue of counterpart funding as an impediment to the job.
“Even as it stands right now, for that work to move again, I must have counterpart contribution to pay compensation. Those are the issues and not any interference (by government) that I am aware of. What I did initially was to stabilise the place, then we wait for counterpart contribution.”
Following a report on the erosion site in The Guardian in November last year, it was gathered that a team of World Bank and NEWMAP officials visited the site and met with the community, with a promise that everything would be put in place to resolve all issues for work to resume.
Anukwa told The Guardian in his Calabar office at the weekend that “progress has been made and we have resolved outstanding issues or challenges. I am telling you with authority, and by the end of this month, the contractor will resume work.”