Ntiat Community Seeks Help As Erosion Cuts Off Access Road

Erosion has cut off access to the people of Ntiat community in Itu Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
The road which is the only access road in and out of the community, also leads to the Comprehensive Secondary School, Ntiat, Mary Slessor General Hospital, Essien Ukpabio Theological College, and Itu Modern Market among other key institutions in the council area.

The indigenes have expressed fear over the collapse of the road allegedly abandoned by the state government.
It is now said to be a death trap as many drivers, travellers, business people, traders, health workers have lost their lives in the ravine that has now cut off a large chunk of the road making it impassable.

According to Eteidung Bassey Ekanem, village head of Ntiat community, erosion caused by heavy rainfall since 2016 was responsible for the damaged portion of the road.

Speaking to newsmen in his palace on Monday, Eteidung Ekanem said the worsening situation of the road forced the council of chiefs in the community to invite the chairman of Itu Local Government Area, Mr Etetim Onuk, and commissioner for science and technology, Dr Iniobong Essien, to inspect the road.

He explained that both the council chairman and the commissioner inspected the road in 2017, and even promised to begin repairs on the road but never returned to the community till date.

The village head called on the State and Federal Governments to join effort and repair the road so that traders could easily bring in foodstuffs into the state with ease.

“The road linking T-Junction has completely collapsed with a ravine on both sides. It started five years ago in 2016 and in 2017.

“We invited the chairman of Itu Local Governnment Area, Barr. Etetim Onuk, who appealed to the former commissioner of environment, Dr Iniobong Essien, to come and inspect the place. He came and made a promise that he would do something about it, and this is 2020, the place is a death trap. Several lives have been claimed and nothing is done about the place.

“I’m afraid of the way it’s raining this season, I doubt if the road will last till the end of this year.

“This is the only road that leads to Comprehensive Secondary School, Ntiat. How will the students manage to go to school on resumption when the lockdown order is suspended?

“It also leads to Itu Modern Market, where business men and women bring in foodstuffs like foofoo, plantain, cocoyam, water yam, cucumber, groundnut, fresh fish, among other items into the state because of its closeness to Cross River and Abia States respectively.

“The damaged road also leads to Mary Slessor General Hospital and Essien Ukpabio Theological College, to mention but a few. So if the road is completely abandoned, I don’t know how people will manage to go about their daily businesses.

“On this note, I appeal to our dear governor to please intervene and repair the road for the good of our community and the entire state,” he stated.

Also speaking, the chairman of Itu Market, Pastor Edo Ekpenyong, lamented that about seven people have died within a period of two months on the road.

He said Ntiat erosion site was now a death trap, especially for people who are not familiar with the current situation of the road.

He added that due to the condition of the road, the village youths decided to act as road marshals at both ends of the erosion site between 6am and 11pm to regulate that only one vehicle passes the damaged spot at a time to avoid road accident, and to check any incidence of robbery at night.

“A month ago, we lost two motorcyclists. Two weeks ago, three additional lives were claimed when a vehicle fell into the trap and just last week, we lost another two lives in a tricycle.

“The road is very dangerous, we pray that God should touch the heart of our leaders both at the State and Federal Governments to come to our rescue,” he said.

A victim of armed robbery attack on the road, a foofoo trader, Eka Eno, told our newsmen that she has been robbed twice on the damaged portion of the road when their vehicle broke down.

“I can’t say the amount of money I have lost with my goods. I managed to escape when another vehicle came and the thieves ran away thinking it was the Police. I thank God for the village youths who scared the robbers away.

“I appeal to our beloved governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, to repair the road so that there would continue to be food sufficiency in the state because so many foodstuffs come in from Itu,” she said.

Recently, the commissioner for environment and petroleum resources, Dr. Ekong Sampson, had directed persons residing at serious erosion and flood-prone locations in the state to vacate to safer areas.
Despite this directive, no known effort to relocate people living in these erosion-prone areas has been initiated or started by the government.


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