The federal government has commended the Akwa Ibom State government for its commitment in resolving the environmental challenges bedevilling the state.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment Mr. Leon Lawrence Alithe, who gave the kudos, explained that he was in the State on a two-day working visit to inspect erosion projects undertaken by the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in the oil rich State.
The Permanent Secretary and his entourage wereshown round the various gully erosion sites and the BadamosiBabangida (IBB) Avenue flood control site by the commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals.
The delegation also inspected facilities at the early flood warning system located at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron where they were briefed on the operational capability of the system as well as its shortcomings by the project coordinator of the Cooper Technologies Limited, United Kingdom.
Alithe charged the project engineer to find lasting solutions to existing challenges so as to bring integrity to processed data.
Top among the issues raised by the project engineer was the need for regular maintenance and training of local personnel as well as proper education of stakeholders and communities on interpretation and use of available data as well as decentralization of maintenance activity.
Explaining the benefit of the facility to the people of the state, State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien expressed delight at having such equipment in the state.
He said, “The whole essence is to pick up signals of impending water rise and the possibility of flooding. This is important for our people to prevent the negative impact of flooding, one of which will include effects on fishing.
“The settlers around here are mostly fishermen, you also have regular farmers. Once there’s flooding it’s going to affect everywhere – fishing and planting. So it’s important to get those early warning to be able to pass information to the locals so that they can plan their planting season, fishing season and of course, that way, we’ll be able to impact positively on their livelihood”. He finished.
It would be recalled that the state government has spent well over N7billion to tackle the environmental hazard in the state.