Calabar — by Temisan Amoye
Residents and people of Ikot Nkebre community on the outskirts of Calabar, located in Calabar Municipality LGA of Cross River have raised the alarm over the frequent harassment of the contractor working at the erosion site in the area by hoodlums, saying that the incident has led to a temporal stoppage of work.
Affected community members, who described the incident as disturbing revealed that if the contractor was not allowed to work and complete their job, the expected heavy rains may cause more havoc in the area.
Speaking with Vanguard on Monday at the Site, Mr. Etim Edem-Effiom, the Community Liaison Officer of Akpaven Integrated Services Limited, said that the community was worried psychologically, adding that youths and elders in the community were all disturbed as well with the ugly development.
Edem-Effiom said that the contractor has carried out massive work in addressing the erosion site, hence they should be supported rather than receiving attacks and harassment from hoodlums.
His words: "We are pleading that whosoever is behind the harassment of the contractor and workers on-site should please stop forthwith for the sake of this community.
"The contractor has recovered some areas that were totally eaten off by the erosion. They have done a good job so far, they should be allowed to continue.
"Before now, over 40 buildings collapsed in this area and some people died in the process. The contractor came on board and helped some people in recovering their houses," he said.
Another affected member of the community, Mr. Enang Effiom, said that the gully in the area started in 2017, stressing that three persons lost their lives to the earth that slid within the period.
Effiom said that it was wrong for hoodlums to attack workers on-site at a point where members of the community were hoping for a successful completion of the job.
"If they don't anchor this erosion channel properly, what happened before will repeat itself. Whosoever is behind the attack on the contractor should have empathy on this community," he said.
On his part, Mr. George Brown, the Project Director of Akpaven Integrated Services, said that work on finger one, finger two, finger three, finger four, and the main gully has reached 95 percent completion. He said that what was left to complete the project was the remediation work on the sites.
"We had some invasion about three weeks ago from hoodlums. They came in on the pretext that we were not paying mining levies.
"From our records and the interactions we have with relevant tax agencies and consultants, we have paid all levies to accrue to the state even up to the end of April.
"We have updated all our revenues, but the faceless hoodlums came in on the pretext of revenue. The State Internal Revenue Service has not come to seal us or any other agency of government over tax default.
"On the day the hoodlums struck, national officials from the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project were in our facility. They beat up our workers and seized our trucks as well," he decried