Akwa Ibom state government has said it would spend two billion naira in payment of compensation to land and crop owners along the right of way for the IBB Avenue flood control and drainage project in Uyo.
The project which is a N14billion World Bank assisted project is meant to control flooding in the area said to be the lowest point and epicentre of flooding in the metropolis. It has always posed problems to residents and road users in the State capital.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Environment, Charles Udoh, to newsmen after a tour of the project site yesterday in Uyo.
According to him, about 499 persons have benefitted from the first stage of the payment while the next phase of payment would commence next week.
The 8.4km drainage project he said was expected to be completed before the rains even as excavation and casting have already been completed in some places. He noting that enough would have been done to enable the drains carry flood water before the rains starts in earnest.
The drainage project according to him was awarded to China Roads and Bridges Corporation after an international bidding process in May last year, with a 19 months completion period. The World Bank provided N12 billion, leaving the state government to balance N2 billion which is meant for payment of compensation.
When completed he said, it would serve as the major link for many other flood control drains as well as solve most of the perennial flood problems in Uyo and it’s environs.
The commissioner explained that the drains which would be covered in built up areas would span a stretch of 8.4km and would be about10.10m deep at some point and 8m wide, evacuating about 50,000 metres of water per second.
“The project spans over 8.4km stretch and is designed to carry flood waters from IBB Avenue to Ibesikpo cutting across 17 communities, excluding the four communities that host the construction yard. The 17 communities cut across Uyo, Nsit Ibom and Ibesikpo Asutan local government areas and the project is the biggest NEWMAP project in Nigeria today.
“So, it’s like building a river and because of the depth we are going to cover the drains in built up areas to avoid casualties, while the less built up areas will have perimeter fences on both sides of the drain and a service road to ensure that people can patrol and conduct checks and service the drains when the need arises.
“We are also aware that some natural sources of water would be destroyed by the project and so we are providing remediation measures by providing boreholes for such places and communities whose natural source of drinking water will be affected. We are also building bridges in communities that could be cut into two by the drains”, he said.
Udoh further said that a new technology was being deployed to ensure that the drainage would not hamper the continuous existence or damage its outfall, a stream in Ibesikpo Asutan local government council which already accommodates two other major drainage outfalls from Uyo.
“We are using a new drainage termination technology called Gebion and Reno Mattresses used to terminate drains before it gets to where you plant specific grasses to allow natural sedimentation.
“We are going to have that so that before the water gets near it’s outfall the water will be at crawling speed so there won’t be any devastation. So, beyond the Gebion and Reno Mattresses, we will have natural grasses planted and over a period will become a tourist centre like we already have at Dominic Utuks Avenue in Uyo,” he stated.
The commissioner stated as well that the ministry has also streamlined the activities of miners and sand dredgers in the state to reduce the negative impact of their business on the environment.