As part of activities to mark the 35th anniversary celebration of the creation of Akwa Ibom State, the State Government, on Tuesday inaugurated a $34 million, 8.4km long flood control project executed in partnership with the World Bank through the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The project, which traverses 18 communities in three local government areas and intended to address the perennial flooding on Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Avenue, was commissioned by the Governor of Delta State and vice-presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
While unveiling the project in Uyo, Okowa applauded the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, for his courage to undertake a project that may not score much political points, as billions of naira have been buried underground.
“It takes a bold and courageous leader to do this, because after sometime, people would forget what was buried underground. So, only great men who look into the future would do this,” Okowa said.
He noted that the cooperation of the youths in supporting the project showed that there was hope for the country, adding that such a disposition would continue to attract growth and development to the state.
In his own speech at the commissioning ceremony, the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, commended the World Bank through NEWMAP for partnering with the state in arresting the perennial flood problem, pointing out that the flood had sacked many landlords and residents of the affected communities.
He noted that experts had discouraged him from embarking on the project during a tour of the state in the early days of his administration but “I told them I do not run away from challenges; I take them headlong,” he added.
Governor Emmanuel explained that the facility carries more than half of the flood water generated in Uyo and environs, adding that with the project, perennial challenge of flood in the area was now a thing of the past.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment to arrest flooding and erosion situations across the state, Governor Emmanuel explained that the $34 million spent on the project was a demonstration of his commitment to the development of the state.
Corroborating the governor, the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Charles Udoh, said the IBB Avenue intervention was meant to provide a permanent and comprehensive solution to the problem of perennial flooding in the surrounding communities.
“It was done through the construction of a combination of underground and open reinforced concrete storm water drains spanning about 8.4km and designed for a total discharge capacity of 80.43m3/s,” he added.