THE Ecological Fund has handed over the Oguduasa Gully Erosiin Erosion and Flood Works in Abia State to a contractor, to commence rehabilitation of the project at an undisclosed cost.
EFO, which is a unit in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, contracted Messrs Foldams Engineering Company Ltd., to handle the rehabilitation.
The EFO Permanent Secretary, Dr Habiba Lawal, performed the contract-signing ceremony at Isiukwuato, near Umuahia.
Lawal said that the project was one of 20 ecological intervention projects, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the first quarter of 2020.
A Director in the agency, Mr Collins Igwe, who represented Lawal said the contract was awarded through EFO’s tenders’ board.
He said: “It is the resolve of the present administration that no part of the country suffers any neglect, owing to its geographical location or political consideration.”
Lawmaker representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, initiated the project through a request for an urgent intervention.
Lawal said that when completed, the project would “arrest the continuous soil erosion and flooding,” ravaging communities in Oguduasa.
She said: “This will also go a long way in mitigating the impact of associated flooding being experienced within the communities.
“The intervention is to be implemented for the overall wellbeing of the communities.”
The director implored residents of the area to support the contractor and consultant by ensuring the safety of their lives and property.
Onyejeocha said the project was first captured in the 2007 budget but could not be executed “because of a lack of design.”
She said that she reminded the president about the erosion, when she accompanied traditional rulers from Oguduasa to visit Aso Rock.
She noted: “I reminded the president about the road as a condition for my constituency to vote for him.
“In 2019, the Ecological Fund Office visited the constituency and identified 10 erosion sites. And just two weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved it.”
Onyejeocha thanked Buhari and FEC for the approval of the project, saying that tackling the erosion menace would bring relief to affected communities.
“The road is critical to the economy of the area and the gully erosion poses serious danger to the lives of the natives, motorists and commuters.
“The erosion site also provides a safe haven for kidnappers, robbers and rapists, who regularly attack unsuspecting travellers.”
Onyejeocha cautioned politicians to stop playing politics with peoples’ lives and promised not to “play politics with erosion sites or people’s lives.”
The traditional ruler of Oguduasa Autonomous Community in Isuikwuato Local Government Area, thanked the president, Muhammadu Buhari, EFO and Onyejeocha for coming to their rescue.
He lamented that said that “our communities have been cut off from our neighbouring communities. Our farmlands have been washed away, hampering economic development in our area.” (NAN)