By Sam Oditah
The Ecological Fund Office (EFO) has handed over the Oguduasa Gully Erosion and Flood Works in Abia to a contractor, to commence rehabilitation of the project.
The 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 News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the cost of the contract was, however, not disclosed.
The EFO Permanent Secretary, Dr Habiba Lawal, performed the contract-signing ceremony at Isiukwuato, near Umuahia.
He said that the project was one of 20 ecological intervention projects, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the first quarter of this year.
Lawal, who was represented by a Director in the agency, Mr Collins Igwe, said the contract was awarded by the EFO’s tenders’ board.
“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.”
She said that the project was initiated through a request for an urgent intervention forwarded to the agency by Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency.
Lawal said that when completed, the project would help “to arrest the continuous soil erosion and flooding”, ravaging the Oguduasa communities.
“This will also go a long way in mitigating the impact of associated flooding being experienced within Oguduasa communities.
“The intervention is to be implemented for the overall wellbeing of the communities,” Lawal said, noting that it would also bring socio-economic development to the area.
The director implored residents of the area to give the contractor and consultant the needed support and cooperation by ensuring the safety of their lives and property.
In her remarks, 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 on a courtesy visit to Aso Rock.
“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,” the lawmaker said, adding: “Just two weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved it.”
Onyejeocha thanked Buhari and the 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 admonished politicians from the area to stop playing politics with issues affecting human lives.
“I cannot play politics with erosion sites or people’s lives.
My campaign was not based on frivolities,” she added.
In an interview with newsmen, the project consultant, Mr Farukuoye Adeyinka, who declined to disclose the contract sum, said the project would be delivered between four to six months.
Also, Eze Okey Udeh, the Traditional Ruler of Oguduasa Autonomous Community in Isuikwuato Local Government Area, thanked the president, EFO and Onyejeocha for coming to their rescue.
He said that the area had been subjected to untold socio-economic hardship, due to the erosion.
“Our communities have been cut off from our neighbouring communities. Our farmlands have been washed away, hampering economic development in our area,” the monarch said. (NAN)