NEWMAP, NDDC Collaborate to Tackle Gully Erosion in Eseku-Adiabo Community in C/River

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Calabar – The gully erosion leading to the Tinapa bridge in Eseku community, Cross River state, has become the focus of collaborative intervention by the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Prof. Emmanuel Eyo, the Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, and Chief Ani Esin, Special Adviser to Governor Bassey Otu on NDDC, provided insights during a last week on-site inspection NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.

Prof. Emmanuel Eyo, while addressing the media, emphasized that they were at Eseku/Adiabo community on the directive of Governor Otu to assess the gully erosion and explore avenues for intervention. The civil engineers and NDDC had previously faced limitations due to the challenges posed by the erosion. Prof. Eyo acknowledged the importance of addressing the issue promptly, considering its impact on the Tinapa bridge and the accessibility of the Calabar-Odukpani-Eseku-Adiabo road leading to Tinapa.

“This is Adiabo community, and behind us is the gully that leads to Tinapa bridge that has been abandoned for so many years. And I know it’s on the instruction of the governor, His Excellency Senator Bassey Edet Otu, that we should come and inspect and see how we can intervene again because the civil engineers and NDDC cannot continue with any civil works here because of this gully. We’ve come here to inspect the gully site and see how we can assist the state government,” said Prof. Eyo.

When questioned about the number of gullies in the area, Prof. Eyo mentioned a significant swamp behind the visible gully, emphasizing that the intervention would be phased to address the extensive erosion effectively. He also highlighted the collaboration with NDDC, stating that their involvement would guide the way forward.

“Outside the gully, behind it is a mighty swamp. It is too extensive that we cannot determine for now. This work is going to be carried out phase by phase, step by step. When we reach the end of this gully we will now move ahead and see how we can also intervene. Otherwise we’ll call our other partner, NDDC, to also give us the way forward,” Prof. Eyo added.

Chief Ani Esin shed light on the significance of the road, noting that once constructed, it would provide a direct route to Tinapa, eliminating the need to go through Odukpani junction. He expressed gratitude to NEWMAP for its swift response to the governor’s directive, indicating that NDDC would proceed with the intervention after NEWMAP’s assessment.

“As soon as NEWMAP finishes its own site, the NDDC would put everything in place, including how we can bring back contractors that have the capacity to do this job. As you can see, it’s going to be a very technical job, going forward from here,” Chief Ani Esin explained.

The issue of poor termination of drains was raised during the interview, to which Prof. Eyo responded by stressing the importance of involving community youths in the project. He emphasized that NEWMAP’s technical team would ensure proper drainage termination, addressing a key factor in gully erosion prevention.

“We are going to involve the community youths. We must involve them. If you don’t, that means you have not yet started. Secondly, the project believes it has a technical team, and it would be able to ensure that the drainages are properly terminated. Behind here is a swamp. There’s a mighty river behind so we should be able to terminate this gully and the drainages there. That’s the position,” Prof. Eyo highlighted.

In conclusion, Prof. Eyo highlighted the commitment to terminate the gully and drainage behind it, considering the swamp and the mighty river in the vicinity. He emphasized the need for collaboration and community involvement to ensure the success of the intervention.

“Well, as you can see, the original plan of this road is more than 20 years, from the Abacha regime. The NDDC captured it as an intervention from where it stopped at Adiabo, and over those years a lot of water has gone under the bridge, and of course it’s a natural thing that if you are not on site, nature would take its course,” Chief Ani Esin responded when questioned about the delay in addressing the erosion issue.

The NDDC’s Chief Ani Esin reiterated the commitment to swift action once NEWMAP concludes its assessment. He acknowledged the technical nature of the project and the importance of involving capable contractors.

“Of course, you will agree with me the stress and length we’ve gone through Calabar-Itu road; this would take Cross Riverians about 10 minutes to be in Creek town, Ikoneto, and the rest. And of course, the agricultural products from this place would be able to reach Calabar in 10 minutes,” Chief Ani Esin emphasized the benefits of the Calabar-Odukpani-Eseku-Adiabo road to Cross Riverians.

The intervention in Calabar-Odukpani-Eseku-Adiabo road community is expected to ease travel from Uyo and enhance the overall connectivity of the region. The collaboration between NEWMAP and NDDC showcases the proactive approach of the Cross River State Government in addressing environmental challenges and ensuring sustainable development.