It will be recalled that, following our report in this online magazine, uchenwosu.com/thewitness, as well as the alarm we raised over the menacing gullies and how the gullies had capsized many houses and shops in the market located in the community centre and indeed how the gullies were menacingly advancing their ways to St Peter’s Methodist Church, Umunwanwa and other buildings, the Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority, swiftly moved in late last year, 2021, and began an engineering work of recovery and combating the gullies whose menace has now been literarily upturned.
The contracting firm handling the project, Prime Design and Build Engineering Limited, has finished the sand-filling of the yawning portions, the monumental gorge that had formed a valley: overlapping the St Peter’s Methodist Church and of course threatening the well known Ama Peter arena. The contractor is also rebuilding the Umunwanwa-Mgbarakuma Ubakala Road, though not to the extent of asphalting it, because the terms of contract does not cover the area for now.
As at the time we visited there recently, the earthwork was almost over as the firm’s machines were seen moving in some red mud and other road reconstruction potpourris on the site. Before now, the people of Umunwanwa were dejected, despaired and despondent. Their despondency was incensed by the fact that the roads in the community are also despicable and impassable particularly the Umunwanwa-Ngbarakuma Ubakala Road. By the way, this road stretches from Mile 5th Umuopara-Ngbarakuma and snakes its way through Umunwanwa Community to Ngbarakuma Ubakala.
The firm’s site engineer, Uche Ihueze told our Reporter that in order to ensure the erosion does not repeat or dig in again and devastate the community, the Managing Director, Anambra-Imo Development Authority; Engr Gerald Osuagwu, equally awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the Umunwanwa-Mgbarakuma Ubakala Road to go on with the erosion control process.
He pointed out that the erosion will not reoccurred again because of the solid way it is being handled. Nonetheless, the community, it was learnt, made their own efforts to see the gullies controlled.
However, Ihueze disclosed that the contract for the asphalting of the road has not been awarded, even as he was upbeat that the contract will be awarded and to his company too by the authority.
“The contract is a two-way thing: the control of the erosion as well as the road project. We’re almost completing the two. The asphalting will not follow immediately because it’s not part of the contract. I’m optimist that before the year runs out, the contract for the asphalting of the road – Umunwanwa-Ngbarakuma Ubakala road will also be awarded and we’ll immediately commence the asphalting”, he assured.
Asked to say the cost of the twin projects, the Prime Design and Build Engineering Limited site engineer declined to say the amount, adding, “that I’ll not give you, but are we on course and nearing the handover date? To that I’ll say yes, we are”.
“Your report may have helped a great deal on what we’re doing, but the MD of Anambra-Imo River Basin Authority has the details…if there are any other influences”.
Our Reporter gathered that the unveiling of who actually facilitated the contract has rubbished the claims by Jerry Uzosike of singlehandedly facilitating the award of the contract for the control of the gully erosion as well as the construction of the Umunwanwa-Ngbarakuma Ubakala Road.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.