The Iwuochang community in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has appealed to the Federal Government to restore the embarkment of Qua Ibom River to prevent further overflow.
The community made the appeal at a news conference in Ibeno, Ibeno Local Government Area of the state on Sunday.
The Village Head of Iwuochang, Chief Daniel Afia, appealed to the Federal Government to help build the worn out embarkment to forestall frequent encroachment of Qua River into the community.
The traditional ruler said when the Qua river overflows, it destroys property worth millions of naira and displaces the residents to other communities.
Afia said in some cases, the high tide submerges houses that are close to the river bank.
He expressed concern over possible threat of wipeout due to an abandoned embankment project awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission.
He said the embankment was built to some level but abandoned about eight years ago.
He said: “The contract was awarded in 2012 by NDDC to Smith Engineering.
“The project was designed to replace an old and worn out embankment around the river to forestall frequent encroachment into the community during high tide.”
Afia said the community had made several attempts to reach the contractor, who had since abandoned all their equipment at the site.
The village head alleged that no NDDC project had been completed in the area and cited several examples of abandoned roads in his area.
He said the abandoned roads included the road linking Ibeno with Eastern Obolo.
Also speaking, Willie Sam, the Vice President, Iwuochang Community, said the inability of the contractor to complete the project had forced many residents around the coastal line out of their homes.
Sam said: “You know they had to remove the old and worn out embankment to replace the new one, but after removing it, they abandoned the project, leaving the community bare and at risk.
“It is always very threatening when the high tide comes, there is nothing to hold it.
“All the houses around here were occupied by their landlords but they have all been sacked because the encroachment is usually fast, high and unexpected.”
Sam lamented that on several occasions, he had taken letters on behalf of the community to the NDDC office in Port Harcourt and its Uyo office at Ewet Housing Estate, but without response.
The Chief Security Officer of the area, Ebrewong Eshiet, however, blamed failures of NDDC projects in the region to poor supervision and contract award on political grounds.
Eshiet also lamented that the community youths employed by Smith Engineering during the project were still being owed salaries.
He said these were in addition to exposing the community to a possible wipeout due to the failed embankment.