Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Government has ordered residents of a village in Uyo threatened by landslides to vacate their homes to safe areas as soon as possible.
The residents of the community have however vowed to stay put in in the face of danger unless governent takes practical steps to relocate and resettle them.
The State Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Mr Charles Udoh, who gave the order to the Uyo villagers on Monday while inspecting the erosion site that almost claimed the lives of three children on Sunday night, said government was working assiduously to curtain further encroachment as well as check erosion in most parts of the capital city.
Udoh said the people that the lives of Akwa Ibom residents are of utmost importance to government, hence the insistence on urgent relocation.
The residents of the area, speaking through Mr Austin Iton, have appealed to the state government to urgently take steps to relocate the people.
The people insisted on a resettlement support from government and vowed to rather drown in their ancestral homes than become homeless.
Three kids had on Sunday night escaped death by the whiskers in Uyo, following the landslide which swallowed a section of a house and cut off Asutan Street into two halves.
It was gathered that the children aged nine, six and five years old had barely left the kitchen after preparing their evening meals when the incident happened
The landlord of the affected house, Mr Francis Ikpe, described the landslide as devastating, adding that it was a miraculous escape for the children
‘It was a devastating experience.Three children were preparing their meals in the kitchen. After they left the kitchen, it was not even up to five minutes, when the kitchen collapsed.The children were eating when suddenly there was a bang and the kitchen and everything inside it buried. They would have been trapped; it was a miracle,’ Ikpe said
The landlord said the community had been living with the erosion for the past 30 years, adding that the dimension was not as disastrous was it turned out to be now.
He said the problem become serious when the state government decided to embark on street repairs and construction of drainages,saying water from six adjoining streets had been channeled to the place without a chamber constructed to receive the volume of water
‘I am the landlord of No. 16, Asutan street, the compound that is badly threatened by the erosion.We have lived with the erosion for more than 30 years, the dimension was not as disatrous as it is now.
‘But when the state government decided to embark on massive streets repairs and drainages, water from the six adjoining streets, including barracks road, have been diverted to the place and no chamber was done to receive the water.
‘A lot of damage has been caused to that place. Whenever it rains the volume of water increases and this has been posing threats to lives and properties,’ he said.
He called on the state government to intervene before the house is completely swallowed by the rampaging slide.