Afaha Oku village is one of communities within Uyo capital city which hosts two major institutions, the prestigious Cornelia Conelly College (CCC) and some part of the University of Uyo town campus, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Same village also provides access into the Uyo City polytechnic, and also links Urua Ekpa and Uyo village roads which serves as gateways to Calabar Itu highway.
As significant as Afaha Oku community is to the existence of Uyo, the capital City of Akwa Ibom State, this community is severely threatened by gully erosion and deep ravine which is threatening the existence of the entire community.
Though the fears expressed by many that the entire community may soon cave into the near bottomless ravine may sound a bit exaggerated for those who may not have gone round the community, the reality that not less than ten buildings cave in every rainy season, gives reason to fear the prediction may come true.
While some may have thought that the badly affected and almost irredeemable side of the community, behind the University of Uyo, round to Uyo village road and Eka street on the right side of Afaha Oku road was the only side to be scared of, and therefore began relocating from the area or avoid further development as existing buildings were fast caving in, the left hand side of the village, accessed through CCC junction, was artificially dragged into the natural landslide by JVL, a construction company engaged by the World Bank in 2005.
Residents Call for Rescue as Akwa Ibom Community Sinks into Ravine – thekillerpunch news
JVL as explained by residents of the affected area was engaged by the World Bank in 2005 to construct the Udo Usanga, Ekpene Ntan, Akpan Eton, up-to Urua Ekpa road.
The construction company, according to residents of the area tricked the then village head into accepting that red earth be removed from Akpan Eton, one of the streets earmarked for construction, to fill other areas with a promise to refill, provide drainage and construct the road which was said to be part of the contract awarded.
Unfortunately, JVL not only abandoned some parts of the awarded roads at various stages of completion, but also diverted heavy volume of water into the deeply excavated Akpan Eton street.
However, the roads abandoned by JVL were reawarded by the NDDC in 2016, but the deeply excavated street was once again ignored and abandoned, probably due to the degree of damage caused by the JVL.
As should be expected therefore, the heavy volume of water through the deeply excavated road not only introduced a ravine due to heavy flood along the street which gradually sent residents packing by rapidly swallowing buildings, but also created a link to connect the major ravine on the other side of the road and wrapped the entire Afaha Oku community for possible sinking.
Narrating the ordeals on behalf of residents of the area, one of the landlords, Mr Titus Jerome Udoh confirmed that the road was motorable before the unfortunate excavation by JVL, which later abandoned the road in 2005.
His words “The Company was to construct roads around here, including this road, but they instead came and removed the earth over there and diverted all the water from Urua Ekpa to this road. That was the genesis of this gully. So you can imagine all the volume of water from Urua Ekpa passing through the road”.
Udoh said residents of the area had since 2006 forwarded several letters to concerned ministries of government, appealing to them to come to their aid, but to no avail.