Recently, the federal government provided a new lease of life for Uromi indigenes and students in Edo State through the unveiling of erosion and flood-control projects. CHIKA OKEKE writes.
The Uromi community is known as the most populated area in Esanland. Sited in Esan North local government area of Edo State, the mainstay of the indigenes are commerce, cottage industry, agriculture, furniture making and wood processing.
Given the menace of gully erosion in the community, some areas were almost cut-off, a situation that created hard life for the locals.
This prompted one of the residents of Okhele in Uromi community, Engr Godwin Ugheghele to solicit the intervention of the Ecological Fund Office (EFO) towards ending the environmental degradation caused by decades of gully erosion.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) approved the project as one of the 16 ecological interventions for the third quarter of 2018, which was awarded to Messers Numbers Limited by the EFO’s tender board on 26th February, 2018.
At the commissioning and handing over of Uromi road rehabilitation and erosion control works at Okhele, the minister of state, budget and national planning, Prince Clement Agba was optimistic that the project would address the devastating effects of erosion and flood menace in the community.
He noted that the project underscored the federal government’s concerted efforts in tackling the problems of Nigerians, adding that it would bring huge relief to the community.
The permanent secretary of EFO, Dr Habiba Lawal said the handing over of the erosion control works was to enable the host community to take over and exercise ownership of the project.
Lawal, who was represented by the deputy director, Soil erosion and flood control department of EFO, Engr Nwachukwu Udochi cautioned the community against using the project as a refuse site.
A member of the community, Elder Christopher Omijeh thanked the federal government for ending the nightmare witnessed on the road even during the dry season.
Explaining the scope of the project, consultant to Water Centre Nigeria limited, Engr Sylvester Eneji noted that 2.1km of road and 1.5km of drains were constructed.
Also, the National Institute of Construction Technology and Management (NICTM) Uromi wrote to the EFO on the continuous flooding and erosion within the institute and its environs.
The President conceded to the request, as the project was captured as one of the 16 ecological interventions for the third quarter of 2018, which was awarded to Messers Madrid Global Resources limited by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on 13th March, 2019.
Unveiling the project, Prince Agba lamented that soil erosion had resulted to huge loss to the economy, as its number one enemy to agriculture.
He pointed out that about 3, 700 federal roads across the country are currently rehabilitated likewise the construction of 377 rural roads along the agro-corridors.
On her part, Dr Lawal lauded the efforts of the contractor and consultant towards the successful completion of the project.
Represented by an assistant director at EFO, Mr Sani Manga, the permanent secretary was hopeful that the project would end the consistent loss of lives and properties caused by erosion.
The rector of NICTM, Engr Sunday Onohaebi pleaded with PMB to approve the phase II of the project, in order to open up more access roads within and around the institute.
Also, the project consultant, Mr Chudi Nonyelu of Ashawa Consults limited said the intervention included land reclamation, construction of 4km road with pavement as well as drains to channel the storm and rainwater.