The people of Mbiokporo in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area have sent a save our soul message to Governor Udom Emmanuel over the threat to lives and property posed on members of the community arising from the illegal mining activities of one Engr. Nsikak-abasiUdoIdiaha, the Managing Director of Jungle Engineering Company Limited, Uyo.
The community leaders in a petition jointly endorsed by the village head, Eteidung Sunday Udofia, the youth leader, Mr. Godwin EffiongAsuquo and Okuku Nicholas Edet have lamented bitterly over the forceful encroachment on their land without the consent of the village council.
Speaking to our correspondent, Eteidung Sunday Udofia hinted that Engr.UdoIdiaha, who hails from the area, had approached the village council to get approval to use the land in question for a burrow pit project but his request was objected by majority of the community members owing to the environmental hazards that are associated with such projects.
Our investigation on the matter has so far disclosed that Engr. UdoIdiaha, the Managing Director of Jungle Engineering Limited, Uyo had despite several warnings from members of the community including a traditional injunction opened a burrow pit where he excavated and removed several trips of sand(laterite) and for the past two years been selling same to potential buyers, most of which are construction firms.
The community in the two paged petition, observed that effortswere not made by Engr Udoh Idiaha and companyto carry out geotechnical site survey to calculate the amount of soil that should be excavated from the affected soil, without necessarily causing a shift on the earth equilibrium.
“The fact that there was no clear cut proof or plans to reclaim the pit have left much to be desired in terms the potential hazards to the affected community members”. The petition was read in part.
Speaking further, a member of the village council,Okuku Nicholas Edet averred that Engr.UdoIdiaha had neverbothered to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to ensure that professional and sustainable engineering practice were adhered to in order to minimize the effect of degradation on the environment.
The community has therefore called on the state government to investigate the alleged complicity of some officials of government who may have given approval to Engr. UdoIdiaha and company to carry on with the project without due followingprocess.
“That we strongly kick against the use of our land for a burrow pit project, whereas the land in question was reserved solely for residential purposes. We call on the state government to urgently intervene on the matter which has so far generated tension in the community to avoid blood-shed, loss of lives and property”. The petition concluded.
Further investigations on the matter has revealed that Engr. UdoUdiaha has so far dug up to 12 feet of the about 1 hectre of land situated at the ObioNsit section of the community.
Efforts made to speak with Engr. UdoUdiaha did not achieve much result as he hinted that some community members had already dragged him to court. The contractor later on explained in confidence that he acquired the land for an under ground hotel project.
He could not however explain why the so called under ground Hotel project was sited in the thick of the forest.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of lands and Town Planning, Dr. John Akpan Mankson, who was also approached by our reporter for questioning on the matter called the bluff on thereporter saying that he was free to write whatever rubbish he intend to write on the matter.