Why I created artificial 'erosion gully' in Ikot-Ene-Obong, Basin MD opens up

Engr. Bassey Nkposong, MD of Cross River Development Authority

The Managing Director (MD) of Cross River Basin Development Authority, Engr. Bassey Edet Nkposong has opened up on the allegation that he ordered the creation of artificial erosion gully to sack Ikot-Ene-Obong, a neigbourhood community in 8 miles, Calabar over boundary disputes.

Recall that the Community in a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter to the Cross River State Commissioner for Environment accused the MD of deliberately excavating a pathway of 12 feet deep to form an artificial erosion gully calculated to cause havoc, heavy flooding and destruction of valuable properties as well as put their lives in grave danger.

The MD however in a telephone conversation with our reporter has defended his actions saying that he used Basin excavator to create "gap" to ensure that those who were encroaching into their land would not have access to their houses or sites where they're building.

He maintained that it was impossible for Basin authority to leave own land to another to cause erosion gully even as he said that the government establishment has the right to do anything with its land.

On accusation of causing flooding in the place, Nkposong said that "There's a community  behind us that has a channel that passes by their front , now there is a contract which Basin Authority did and there was design for it. Basin authority did their design and terminated it with a hook. That design, construction, concrete is still standing and the flow is still on.

That community behind us has now grown beyond what it was at that time and the people who also sold land to them, sold land without taking cognisance of the flow of the drain. In any community what you do before you build your house is to look for where the road takes, what is the final level of that road and do your foundation above that but what happens in most cases in our communities is that  every body buys land go and point at his own and start a foundation without  taking cognisance of what the road level would be.

A house is supposed to drain to the road and not the road to drain to the house. If now you go and build your house lower than the level of the road , who are you blaming? Of course water will find a way to flow to the nearest and easiest portion but if the houses on that road knew the problem of their area and knew that the foundation level start above the road, they won't have this problem".

He explained further that "they have still come to us and say, please if there is a construction company can you add a small drain that will cure this problem and we say to them, you know we are federal government establishment, what you will do is, look for a Legislator either house of Reps member or Senator who is in this area, tell them you have a problem, they will now put it in our own budget as their constituency job otherwise it will be a case of maybe World Bank assisted project; but even all of that it depends on the community driving to the right direction not going to accuse people you can't stand.

Basin Authority is standing on it own and it was existing before you came there so who is doing what to who?"

The MD maintained that "There's yet another one who have  encroached to the level that if I stand in my office I can see them. Now let me tell you, Basin authority got that land from Ikot- Ene-Obong and Ikot Efanga way back, so many years ago, it was hundreds and something hectares; the value I can't tell you, I don't have it off hand. The files are there. It was signed by the then military government but when Donald Duke came, he wanted to relocate the market  so they looked for where to put the people where he want to build the new market and then they relocated them ,so those people came to ask for part of our own land so we had to cede that land that Donald wanted for them which was done.

Why I have this fact ready for you now is because an issue just came up with the government where the ground rent calculation was based on hundred and something hectares when infact we have given government to the extend that we are now having  just about 80-something hectares left, so we have given over 70 something hectares and left with 80 something which  is eight hundred plot of land. Hundred hectares of land and you stand in the middle of that land will you see the end? But now we see which means they've encroached.

So I can only call government for them and Military and Police. They're the one to break their houses not me so that I don't take laws into my hands. But what I can do is that I can do anything in my land so I went there and used my excavator to cause a gap so their cars cannot cross to this other side and they cannot go there to put materials to continue the building. The first one, when we were not there, do you know that these people covered it, so I was told and I went there to do it again. 

You see when you have a tenured time for your office and you're coming out, you won't want to create so many enemies. So much as I know they're doing the wrong thing, I won't cede a square meter during my own tenure to anybody because the federal government didn't send me to do that but I won't be the one to carry cain, I'll write the government which I've written and they're in the process of coming to eject them. So we're just looking at each other, none of them have claim and they'll loose it".

Nkposong revealed that "Right now, the federal government is taking inventory of all their lands in the whole of the federation and fencing of the land is coming out in the next budget. And all the land would be fenced and they'll loose the lands. They've been warned to go back to the people who sold them the lands. Prof. Ene-Obong is like a father to me, a brother, uncle. He told me that Ikot Ene-Obong have not sold any land to anybody; that they can't sell Basin land and that they know it's Basin land so anybody who's selling Basin land is doing on their own and at their own peril".
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