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Friday, February 22, 2013

2012 DISASTER: Underground Drainage System Saved Akwa Ibom?


Godwill Akpabio
The 2012 flood disaster that ravaged many part of the country had very minor impact on Akwa Ibom State because of a 2.7 kilometres pipe jacking underground drainage system constructed by the Godwill Akpabio administration. The project was handled by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
In an exclusive interview granted to Daily Times of Nigeria by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communications Aniekan Umanah in Uyo on Saturday, the Commissioner said the pipe jacking underground drainage system was completed and commissioned by the government in 2011 without any inkling that disaster would strike the nation some months later in 2012.
“Sometimes you begin to wonder if our governor His Excellency Obong Godwill Akpabio is a prophet. When the pipe jacking project was being constructed, the governor was very impatient with the construction company handling it. He kept hurrying them to speed up the work as if he was expecting something.
“And do you know that it was the project that saved Akwa Ibom from being swallowed up by the flood as was the case of some other states in the country, especially the states near us?” Umanah said.
Last year’s flood disaster was initially triggered off by heavy rainfall across the country but was later made worse by the opening of a dam in neighbouring Cameroon which led to the near swallow of many states from Adamawa, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Anambra and several others. Hundreds of people were killed by the flood while millions were rendered homeless as the menacing water destroyed homes and other valuable estimated to worth billions of Naira.
Umanah told Daily Times that the state pipe jacking underground drainage system was the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa and was purely the vision of the state governor who he said has passion for giving the people the best of everything possible.
“Akwa Ibom’s case would probably have been the worst because of the topography and nature of our land. But thank God for the vision. The flood affected some part of the state but with minimal consequence compared to what would have happened if the drainage system was not there,” Umanah said.
The pipe jacking drainage system in Akwa Ibom saw to the building of a total of four manholes with 18,000 cubic meters of earth evacuated.
Construction of the drainage system was completed in 18 months and work was not affected by heavy rainfall in Uyo the state capital. It has the capacity to save about 1, 510,000m2 of Uyo and its environs from flooding.
Pipe jacking is a trenchless micro- tunnelling method used for installing prefabricated pipes below the ground’s surface. The process is carried out using a steerable tunnel boring machine as well as hydraulic jacks located inside a pit.
Source: Daily Times