Akwa Ibom residents worry over incessant flooding
By Confidence Chibueze
Eunice Sunday, 45, stood in front of a flooded house in Idua lamenting. Her face depicts frustration at the losses she has incurred as a result of flooding
“My ND certificate I got from Akwa Ibom Polytechnic, the flood came when I was sleeping, and soaked everything, my electronics, my books and almost everything inside this house has been damaged by flood,” she said.
Ms Sunday is one of the hundreds of residents in Idua who have been affected by persistent flooding in recent years.
Idua is one of the prominent communities in Eket Local Government area of Akwa Ibom state, and the community’s existence is on the verge of extinction due to persistent flooding.
Residents say flood totally destroys at least six houses and hectares of farmlands yearly.
Meanwhile, several million have been budgeted for flood mitigation projects in the community.
In the 2020 Akwa Ibom state budget, the state budgeted N200,000,000 for the construction of Idua flood control/6.6km drains. Similarly in the same 2020, N114,054,370 was budgeted for additional work at Idua outfall drains.
A study of the state’s audit report shows that N100,000,000 was approved and released for the two projects.
Moreso, in the 2022 Akwa Ibom state budget, the state equally budgeted N123,991,650 for the implementation of erosion control at Idua road, Eket.
The state, under the Ministry of works and Fire Service in 2022 budgeted N64,054,320 for an additional work at Idua outfall drain, and budgeted N80,000,000 for the construction of Idua flood control /6.6 km drains.
UDEME could not ascertain the total amount released for the project in 2022 but officials at the Ministry of Works and Fire service told this reporter that all funds allocated for Idua projects is being used.
However, the construction of Idua road in Eket has been completed, but residents say it has not solved the issue of flooding in Idua.
Idua Chairman, Jimmy Itamah said the construction of Idua road didn’t come with construction of new drainage systems, and despite the new look of Idua road, residents still experience flooding.
Properties destroyed in Idua
James Mbosowo, a resident of Idua told UDEME that he has been moving from home to home in Idua, but the flood seems to follow him everywhere as he recounts with regret the number of things he had lost.
“The last house I left, at Almighty Road still in Idua, I left without anything, the flood destroyed my foams, electronics, my books, my clothes. I started my life afresh,” Mr Mbosowo said. –
Mr Mbosowo, who currently lives at Mount Zion road in Idua community informed UDEME that the situation seems to have gotten worse, and the flooding becoming more persistent in Mount Zion road. Mr Mbosowo also informed that he has spent more than his rent in ensuring he single handedly regulates the flood away from his house, which has become another wasted effort
Mary Ita, a trader told stories of how persistent and troubling flood in Idua has rendered her without properties.
She warns that anyone planning to live in Idua must eliminate the dreams and hopes of owning properties
Uduak Sunday, a secondary school teacher, informed UDEME that the flood has destroyed all his books and teaching materials, and has been forced to leave the spared books in school
“One day the flood arrested us, and unfortunately, that Sunday we were not back from church, and when I returned, the flood has entered my house, destroyed all my books, instructional materials and some certificate awards that I got through teaching. I sun-dried them for days but to no avail, they were completely destroyed,” he said.
Idua residents stage protest
On the break of January 2023, residents in the Idua community staged a massive protest requesting that the government come to
The protest which lasted for hours saw residents block the entrance and exit from Idua road until messages from officials of the state government promising to de-flood Idua Community was sent to the community . But till now, the residents of Idua have not witnessed any change since the protest. –
Eunice Sunday, informed UDEME that the community was saddened with the numerous things they have lost as a result of flood and decided to march in unison to protest.
Flood hinders farming
Idua community chairman, Jimmy Itamah informed UDEME that the major occupation of most women in Idua is farming, but flooding has made the occupation impracticable leaving women idle and worried on how to feed their children.
Rosemary Anikan, a waterleaf farmer who was cultivating the remains of her waterleaf told UDEME that the flood has never favored farmers in Idua
“The flood has damaged our farms, we plant plenty but when we are harvesting we harvest little. And we need to be fast, if not around may- June, everywhere here will be flooded, you won’t even see where to put your legs”
A trip to Idua Market
Just at the entrance of Idua is the popular Idua market, which accommodates traders within and outside the Idua community. However, the market is heavily threatened by the persistent flood.
Favour Akan, a market woman in Idua who sells fishes informed UDEME that the worst moment of their lives is during a heavy downpour. She said marketers are usually seen running helter skelter, and will not return for days until the environment is completely dried up.
Despite being affected by floods which flow from the major Idua community into the market, the market environment lacks drainage systems to accommodate the excess water and ensure a better trading environment in Idua.
Idua market, a market filled with traders and buyers should have benefited from the construction of outfall drains in Idua, and from the flood mitigation projects, but the market, alongside every other community within Idua tells the same tale of flood and destruction of properties
John Effiok, a motorcycle rider informed UDEME that driving through the Idua market road is a big risk to them and the passengers.Transporters dodging flooded potholes in Idua market. Photocredit:UDEME
“We can’t stop using our motorcycle, because this is where we feed, but the flood will flow from the market, and into the road, and as you can see, it has spoilt the road, and this is a very serious concern for us and the people we are carrying,” he said.
An official who introduced himself as the Director of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Ministry of Works and Fire Service informed UDEME that the projects uncompleted at Idua community will be completed in due time. –
The department is in charge of major constructions in Akwa Ibom which includes the Idua projects
“Everything there will be completed in due time. Constructions currently ongoing in Idua will be completed, that’s all I can say regarding that,” the director said.
This report was produced under the UDEME project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).