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World Bank’s N3b Cross River erosion project ready in 18 months

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After two years of suspension, the N3bn World Bank erosion control project at Ikot Nkebre, Cross River State, has resumed with a target completion date of 18 months.

The Guardian had earlier reported that the erosion project, which was first awarded in 2017, due to an alleged state government’s interference and non-payment of its N500 million counterpart funding, was suspended.Flagging off the 2.6 kilometre erosion project recently, the State Coordinator for Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Dr. Fidelis Anukwa commended the Word Bank for its intervention and pledged the state’s readiness to put in place requisite administrative logistics to ensure effective and efficient delivery of the project. 

Dr. Anukwa apologised to the community for the delay in the commencement of the work, as well as the untold sufferings the people had to contain with, especially as they were “helpless watching their houses being pulled down daily by erosion.”He urged contractor handling the project to acquit itself as a reputable firm that could efficiently prove to the outside world that Nigerian engineers were capable of competing effectively in the delivery of sensitive projects that require high level technical expertise. 

The contracting engineer, Mr. Adedeji Ayo of Akpaven Integrated Services Nig. Ltd., pledged his readiness to keep to the project time-frame, especially as the state is located within the country rainforest region. The Chairman of Ikot Nkebre community, Etubom Eyo Ita Eyo, while expressing delight for the commencement of work at the site, said so far, about 53 houses had been lost to the erosion. 

He commended Governor Ben Ayade for declaring Ikot Nkebre as an erosion disaster area, a move that drew World Bank’s attention to their plight, which has led to the intervention. He appealed to the state government to direct the various internally generated revenue contractors not to allow their activities to hinder the smooth operation of work with their multiple demands for payment of various form of tax by the contracting firm.


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