President Mohammadu Buhari has inaugurated gully erosion and flood control projects at Akpene Eket community in Eket, Akwa Ibom.
The president, at the inauguration, said the projects were aimed at checking flooding and gully menace at Akpene Eket and its environs.
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, represented the president at the occasion.
Buhari noted that the projects were parts of the 26 Federal Government ecological intervention projects for the second quarter as approved on 10th April, 2017.
He expressed optimism that the projects would bring huge relief to the communities threatened by ecological challenges.
The four projects are located at Etim Inyang Etuk Street, Marina Street, Afiigh Iwaad Street and Parkins street in the community.
The projects were executed by the Federal Government through the Ecological Fund Office (EFO) in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Buhari restated the commitment of his administration in ensuring that no part of the country would suffer any neglect owing to its geographical location or political consideration.
“The age-long problem of gully erosion in this part of the country cannot be overemphasised.
“I therefore implore the communities to cherish these laudable projects by preventing indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drainage,” he said.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Dr Iniobong Essien, commended the Federal Government for the projects.
He said that the projects were in line with the dreams of Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom to tackle menace of erosion in the state.
He added that the state had yearned for the presence of the Federal Government in terms of projects.
The commissioner disclosed that the state was going through erosion and ecological challenges in all its 31 local government areas, documenting over 1,000 erosion and ecological sites across the states.
“We have prioritised them in other of importance, impact and severity of the ecological sites,“ he said.
He advised the communities not to use the completed projects as dumping sites, reminding them that “lots of infrastructure have gone bad because of lack of poor maintenance culture.
“My sincere hope is that in the execution of these projects, a special mention should be made about the maintenance and founds allocated for the purpose while somebody should follow the time line for such maintenance,” he said.
He appealed to the Federal Government to involve the state in the implementation, planning and execution of such projects.
Dr Habiba Lawal, Permanent Secretary Ecological Fund Office, said the projects were awarded by Ecological Fund Office Tender Board (EFOTB), 2017 and completed in seven months.
“These projects were initiated through a request for an urgent intervention from the community forwarded to (EFOTB) to arrest the continuous flooding and erosion menace in Akpene Eket town,” she said.
Lawal said the timely completion of the projects was made possible through the efforts of the project contractor and consultant, who worked tirelessly to meet completion deadline.
Chief Inin Ekanem, the Village Head of Akpene Eket thanked the Federal Government for the projects.
He said that “anytime this kind of projects is being commissioned, we are always very happy, may God bless the Federal Government.”