Residents of Rafin Gora community in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger State heave a sigh of relief as the state government has commenced the construction of drainage channels and a bridge to checkmate the prolonged environmental degradation that has claimed several lives and destroyed property estimated at several millions of naira for decades.
The project which is a partnership between the state government and the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) is expected to provide motorists and commuters alike a short access road to Lagos.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, who was on an on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing project site said that over N1billion would be expended on the work.
He noted that heavy downpour and overflow of water from the dam have made some houses collapse and several lives were lost resulting in untold hardship on the people.
The governor added that the government engaged a consultant and came up with an idea to redesign a new waterway, as well as measures to reduce water pressure passing through the community.
“A lot of houses are being threatened. On this site, you have houses that have gone under over the years. But I think with these measures taken now it will protect other houses,” he assured.
He said compensation has been paid and some of the residents resettled, adding that when the project is completed, the problem of gully erosion in the area will be over.
The governor further assured that with the pace of work he has seen, the project will be completed within the stipulated time, pointing out that the concept of the project would be extended.
Earlier, in his remarks, the Project Manager, Mr Martins Elebute said that every contractual agreement has been strictly adhered to, but sighted security challenges as a major problem.
Mr Elebute commended the government for the prompt release of funds, saying that “raw materials was not a challenge but appealed for security personnel to be provided at the site.”
The community which has suffered for several decades has stories of woes to tell whenever the rains come, leaving them to mourn their children and adults as well as lose property.
The construction of this bridge will on completion improve the economic value of the area, as well as bring about rapid growth and development.
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