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World Bank’s N3b erosion project splits Cross River community

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World Bank. Photo: GETTYIMAGES

Members of Ikot Nkebre Community in Calabar Municipal Council of Cross River State have disagreed over the N3b World Bank project, as over 45 houses are being threatened by the project design.

This is coming even as the Cross River State Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has intervened in the matter.

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A section of the community residing in the lower part of Ikot Nkebre, had last week, raised an alarm about the quality of work and their inability to access the project design.

But Village Head of Ikot Nkebre, Chief Tony Nkebre, Chairman of Nkebre Community Development Association (NCDA), Etubom Eyo Edet Eyo and Secretary, Elder Emmanuel Ewa disagreed with the position of the Nkebre people in the lower part, saying their report in the media was misleading.

On behalf of the council and the Ikot Nkebre Community, they dissociated themselves from the report, which they said, gave a false impression of the situation on the ongoing project at 1, 2, 3, and 4 sites.

Insisting that they were representatives of the community, they said the report on the project was false and should be disregarded since its promoters had no mandate to speak for the entire Ikot Nkebre.

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“We have a procedure for information dissemination, so any view from residents should have been channeled through NCDA and properly addressed to NEWMAP for prompt action and mediation.

“Although the writers have the right to freedom of speech, they should not allow their sponsors and selfish interest to affect the progress and development of the community,” they said.

They added that having reflected on the erosion situation in the time past, the community commended the NEWMAP, Cross River State Government, and World Bank for rescuing Ikot Nkebre from collapse, and destruction of their life and property.

“We restate that the company should fulfill its promises on damage to roads, fences, and the Adiaha Obong School field, which is used for official purposes, among others,” they said.

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But aggrieved Ikot Nkebre indigenes petitioned NEWMAP over the development, insisting that their earlier media report was in order, as failure to link adjoining internal roads and drainages to the newly built channel posed serious dangers to the area as they had observed.

In the petition, which was signed by Monday Dien, Inameti Archibong, Joe Orok, and nine others, they said, “If the waters are not properly controlled and channeled, the edges of the raven would continuously be washed and eroded, thereby causing further erosion and destruction.

“Floodwaters from the Murtala Mohammed Highway and upper Nkebre run through lower Nkebre into the plains and as such it becomes necessary to ensure that the channels around lower Nkebre are properly linked to the main water channels under construction to avoid great calamity during the rains.”

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