How N13.6bn drainage is threatening lives, property in Akwa Ibom | Dailytrust

How N13.6bn drainage is threatening lives, property in Akwa Ibom

The drainage is currently under threat due to the inability of the state government to carry out periodic maintenance....

A N13.6 billion underground pipe jacking drainage built by Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom, is threatening the lives and property of citizens of the state.

The drainage at the Itam axis of Uyo, the state capital, is currently under threat due to the inability of the state government to carry out periodic maintenance.

The project, described as the first of its kind in Africa, was commissioned by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.

It is currently facing neglect as the channels to the 40-metre underground pipes conveying floodwaters have been blocked with debris.

A section of the drainage in Ikot Ekang in Itu local government area where floodwater empties has been taken over by weeds.

Moreover, the holes have been blocked with sand, while erosion has eaten deep into the only service and access road to the outfall.

As a result, the speed of water into the outfall from the smaller pipes carrying water has reduced.

The drainage, which according to Julius Berger, has the capacity of about 29 cubic metres per second with DN2000, and has improved self-cleansing capability of the pipes, has not been maintained or periodically cleaned.

Residents of the area expressed mixed reactions to the wellbeing of the project since its inauguration after 10 years.

While some commended the state government for the facility, which has turned the hitherto water-locked area into dry land, others raised concern that the drainage was under threat.

They said if urgent steps are not taken to address the threat, it could impede the smooth functioning of the facility and endanger lives.

They mentioned that the blockage was partly caused by residents, pedestrians and motorists who dumped cans, used water sachets and bottles of table water and other refuse into the gutter.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the drainage in 2011

One of them, Okon Etim said, “If the facility must continue to function optimally, the state government should take steps to clear sand and other refuse from the gutters before it becomes too late.

“Dumping of refuse into the drainage has reduced the velocity at which the underground water flows to the ravine. It is no more as swift as it was when the gutters were free from sands and other waste materials,” he stated.

Responding to the maintenance of the pipe jacking drainage, the Commissioner of Environment and Solid Minerals, Charles Udoh, said the government has started the distilling of gutters and drainages across the state.

He said the government is currently focused on the distilling of major open drains that have hindered the free flow of water and constituted a risk to lives of residents within Uyo metropolis, especially the timely completion of the N14 billion IBB Avenue World Bank Assisted drainage project.

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