Eja community, a flood prone sprawling coastal settlement in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State, is to be relocated by the state government following approval by Governor Liyel Imoke.
The relocation to safer grounds, according to the Director General, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aquah, is to ensure that the community is no more ravaged by flood as has been its lot over the years.
Aquah told traditional rulers, community leaders of Eja that building materials such as zinc, wood, cement, sand, gravel, rods and nails have been procured and will soon be distributed to them.
Government’s decision to relocate them to a disaster-free location, he explained, was due to the devastating nature of the 2012 flood in which the entire community located on the coastline of the Obubra River was completely washed away.
In that natural disaster, over 70 houses were destroyed and about 210 families of 1,874 persons were rendered homeless .
The SEMA boss said based on the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) predictions of higher rainfall this year, the community remains highly vulnerable to devastating floods which could put the lives of thousands of persons at risk as well as property, including houses and farms.
The director general who expressed satisfaction with the location of the new site revealed that the land would be allocated according to families while houses will be built according to government specifications, taking into consideration the topography, wind pass and other developmental issues relating to disaster prevention.
The SEMA boss assured that collaboration with other stakeholders, especially the leaders of the community, including youths and women was needed to guarantee the success of the relocation programme.
He advised all communities living along river banks, plains and water channels to be wary of possible high flood this year and be guided so as to avoid unnecessary calamities.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Special Duties, Mr. Fabian Okpa, described the state governor as a patriotic and committed chief servant of the people who at all times wants to identify with the plight of the less-privileged.
He advised the leaders of Eja community and
the entire Obubra Local Government Area to give government the needed support to actualise the relocation programme.
The village Head of Eja, Chief Livinus Ekpe, in his remarks, commended Governor Imoke for his generosity and sensitivity to the plight of his people pointing out that with the governor’s pragmatism the hitherto disillusioned people are renewed with hope.
The traditional ruler promised that the community will continue to collaborate with the state government to bring to fruition the lofty programme.
An opinion leader, Mr. Cosmos Ezama, described
the governor’s gesture as that of democratic dividends. Eja community was one of the several communities overwhelmed by flood in 2012 that needed urgent relocation.
Another community in dire need of a similar assistance is Agwagune in Biase Local Government Area which for several years has been at the receiving end of flood and landslide which have reduced the habitable land mass to less than 20 per cent.