Contractors and residents of Akwa Ibom State have been warned against excavation of borrow pits in any part of the State except with due permission from the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources.
The state Governor, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, issued the warning as a potent measure towards safeguarding a secure environment for the state.
A statement endorsed by the Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Mr Uno Etim Uno, noted with deep regret that most of the environmental hazards and degradation suffered in the state are a direct impact of excavation of borrow pits carried out mostly by projects contractors.
“In the event of default in compliance with the above directive, the State chief executive has strongly stated that any contractor or individual caught in the unwholesome act of excavation of borrow pits will not only have their contracts permanently terminated but will also be sanctioned in line with the State’s environmental laws.
The Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources has therefore called on all contractors and residents of the state to ensure strict compliance with the Governor’s directive, in line with the environment protection mandate of the ARISE Agenda”. The statement maintained.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has moved to put an end to indiscriminate sand mining in the State.
Nigerian Tribune reports that the Governor had announced the prohibition order for indiscriminate sand mining during an on-the-spot inspection of the Udo Inwang by Urua Udofia streets erosion-ravaged area of Ewet Offot Community in Uyo.
According to him, the prohibition is meant to prevent distortion of the natural topography, environmental degradation as well as loss of valuable properties of citizens to ecological disasters in the state.
He, therefore, ordered that digging up of borrow-pits and all sorts of excavation be discontinued forthwith, except with express permission from the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources.
“I have stopped all forms of excavations of any kind in this state, what is called borrow pit, without the express permission of the Ministry. This is because most of the erosions we are having today result from illegal mining. Let us coordinate those things properly so that if there are drains, we can know where it will be terminated.” The governor had emphasised.
Interacting with the Village Head of Ewet Offot, Etteidung Ben Bassey John, and members of the community who have grossly been affected by the disaster, Governor Eno regretted the devastating condition and sued for understanding with assurances of government’s intervention on the erosion problem as soon as possible.
“I expect that within the next two weeks, the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Prof. Eno Ibanga, should be able to come up with something. And we pray and trust God that nothing will happen in two weeks. We have to follow the due process to get that job done”.
Governor Umo Eno directed the Commissioner for Works and Fire Service to carry out an assessment of the erosion menace and come up with relevant paper works for the award of a contract to reclaim the erosion site.
The Governor, who also stopped by an excavated portion at Clement Isong Avenue said putting an end to reckless digging of borrow-pit was aimed at curtailing erosion-related menace that could degenerate into ravines resulting in the destruction of lives and property.
In a related development, the governor also paid an unscheduled visit to the Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Development Programme, AKADEP, at the agency’s headquarters office, AKADEP House, Clement Isong Avenue, where he frowned at excavations by the fence of the premises and the attendant danger they pose on buildings along the line and re-emphasised the ban on such activities across the State.
At the AKADEP House, Governor Umo Eno sued for concerted efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Akwa Ibom Fadama, and AKADEP to pursue the goals of the A.R.I.S.E. Agenda for the attainment of the desired agricultural revolution.
He frowned at the unkempt environment of the AKADEP House, saying that he has released imprest to Ministries, Department, And Agencies to enhance the smooth operations of offices and directed that the AKADEP premises be kept in habitable condition.
He directed the Accountant General of the State to ensure immediate release of the month’s subvention approved for the agency to aid the maintenance of the facility while sounding a warning to heads of MDAs to desist from misappropriating impress, maintaining that impress and subvention was meant for day to day running of offices and not for private use.
Governor Eno, however, stressed that the AKADEP premises should accommodate demonstration farms to test-run and showcase new species of crops and proudly conduct visitors and interested farmers around them to promote the State Government’s agricultural programmes.