The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) headquarters, Lokoja, has appealed to the Cross River state government to, as a matter of urgency, construct drainage to have access to their area office in Calabar.
A press release signed by the General Manager corporate affairs, Mr. Tayo Fadile, which was made available to journalists in Lokoja, said the NIWA area office in Calabar has been flooded with water and mud due to water diversion work by the Cross River state government to execute a project at Diamond Hill, Hope Wadal, opposite the Governor’s office in the state capital.
According to the statement, the NIWA Calabar area office Manager, Engr. Rufus O. Ogbonlato has reported that the excavation and removal of the top soil that blocked the existing drainage started around May, 2016 hindering the staff of the Authority to have access to their offices.
“The Area Manager said the impact of the water and the mud inflow to the area office has led to NIWA staff and clients finding it difficult to drive to the area office as sand have taken over the jetty, security post and the fence have been damaged.
“The waterfront that was 7.8 meters deep is now reduced to 2.5 to 3.5 meters which is dangerous for maritime activities and about one million naira was spent last year to evacuate the sand” .
Fadile who pointed out that Engr. Ogbonlato had written several letters to the governor of the state , noted that even the contractor, Daiik Engineering that handled the job did not carry out environmental impact assessment ,which is contrary to the environmental impact assessment Decree No. 86 of 1992.
The General Manager observed that “if the company carried out the assessment, they would not have done that job during the raining season due to the topography of the area.
“Our area office in Calabar that was badly affected wrote letters to the governor of Cross River state in May 26th, 2016; July 22nd, 2016; February 13th, 2017 and March 19th, 2017 but to no avail”
The management of NIWA therefore appeal to the governor of the state to take a proactive measure to enable the Authority perform its statutory functions.