Uyo – Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has directed construction companies handling drainages in the state to provide barricades and caution signs at risk flashpoints to forestall accidents.

Emmanuel said the volume of water diverted to drainages constructed in the state makes it difficult for anyone who may accidentally fall into water channel to be rescued, as it may be too late to rescue the individual alive even at the next tunnel.

The Governor gave the directive in Uyo on Tuesday while paying a condolence visit to the family of the deceased seven-year-old Jeremiah Ukeme Alphonsus who got drowned during last Saturday’s heavy downpour.

This is very sad. It is purely an accident; that is why I have contacted Julius Berger and other construction companies handling drainages in the state to barricade high-risk areas to prevent people from getting close to them.

This is because the way we do drainage system here; once someone gets into the tunnel, it might be difficult to rescue the person alive.”

He prayed to God to grant the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the loss, while pledging to ensure prompt measures to forestall a repeat of such accidents in future.

The Governor also noted that flood situations in the state are only powerful while it is still raining, as the drainage systems have the capacity to drain out waters within five-10 minutes after heavy rain.

Governor Emmanuel also advised Uyo residents to curtail movement in certain areas while it is raining, as rainwater may not allow people to identify gutters and dangerous gullies.

Reacting to Emmanuel’s demonstration of concern, father to the deceased, Mr Ukeme Alphonsus thanked the governor for identifying with the family in its moment of grief and recalled that his child lost his life while chasing his slippers that were taken by the run-off water into the gutters.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, who had earlier visited the scene, and condoled with the bereaved family in company of his Ministry of Environment counterpart, Dr Iniobong Essien, advised residents to be cautious and follow the safety rules during heavy downpour in the state.

They sympathized with the family of the victim, assuring them that the state government would put necessary safety measures in place to guide road users from straying into open gutters and big drainages on the capital.

The Commissioners, who inspected the flood-prone areas of Akwa Efak by two lanes, had assured that barricades including wire mesh and iron bars would be erected to prevent such accidents.

Government is committed to taking proactive measures towards providing safety measures for lives and properties during this rainy season.

It is also expedient for members of the public and transporters to be careful as they walk or drive through the streets during the heavy downpours especially near big drains and gutters to safeguard death by drowning,” the Commissioners warned.