Following the collapse of an underground drainage system allegedly installed by local contractor Benest Engineering Limited, a construction worker has lost his life in Akwa Ibom State. Rising anxiety in the neighborhood as a result of the weekend death of Marvelous, a construction worker who was buried beneath a newly constructed drainage system. Residents of the Urua Ekpa hamlet in the state’s Itu Local Government Area, where the tragic occurrence took place, are mobilizing for a large-scale demonstration out of anger.
According to reports, the catastrophe was the result of human error and shoddy rescue efforts by local youngsters using shovels because the corporation was unable to send an excavator right away. Mfon Udo, a local who claimed to have participated directly in the rescue effort, bemoaned the fact that “the victim could have been rescued alive, but for the lack of earth-moving equipment like excavator, which forced us to join in digging the spot for over four hours to get to his remains, heavily pressed down in the rubbles.”
The victim, a mason man, was trapped underground while trying to pour concrete mixture for the construction of an underground water tunnel, the man said, and “the structure collapsed under the weight and vibration of a motorized equipment that was packing and ferrying the chipping stones closer to the underground.”
Udom Emmanuel, the governor of the state, was urged to cancel the contract and re-award it to a major company with excellent safety standards like the Julius Berger after Udo expressed concern that “a job of this magnitude could be awarded to a local contractor as a political compensation to the firm owned by Elder Benji Udobia, the political leader of Esit Eket Local Government Area.”
“We are completely blocked off from Uyo, the state capital, as a result of recurring floods that buried homes and caused fatalities every time it rains. We applauded the governor for this rescue effort when we witnessed contractors being mobilized to the scene, but Effiong Bassey, a youth activist from the Itu LGA, bemoaned that it turned out to be a major calamity for the people.
The contractor apparently abandoned the project as a result of the development and threat. Since the tragedy, the contractor has vanished from the scene with the equipment, and it appears that the project has been abandoned because the government is rapidly approaching the end of its term in 2023, according to local Emmanuel Akpan.