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Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete

By Frank Ulom

The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Calabar Branch, is seeking the collaboration with Cross River State Government (CRSG) to tackle gully erosion in the state using cable concrete – one of the latest innovations used across the world.

According to the engineers, the cable concrete or concrete mattress is cost-effective, long-lasting, easy to implement and environment friendly.

They said if the government of Governor Bassey Otu can implement the innovation which has already been implemented in Edo State, gully erosion will be a thing of the past in Calabar and Cross River State at large.

Speaking at the 7th Engr. John Egbe Memorial Lecture with the theme “Innovation in Gully Erosion Remediation: The Cable Concrete Option,” in Calabar on 26th April 2024, Governor Otu assured the engineers of the government support, adding that, “erosion control affects us all.”

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Mr Emmanuel Eyo, Project Coordinator/SA NEWMAP (Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project)

The Governor who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Eyo, Project Coordinator/SA NEWMAP (Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project), said: “I’ve been informed that there is an innovation to tackle gully erosion, which I know the only set of professionals who can do it are engineers.

“My interaction with some of the engineers for the past eight months shows that erosion is caused by nature and engineers, and the solution can be put in place by nature and engineers. I tactically inform my team that if there is one thing they can do for us, is to bring the innovation of cable concrete, and here we are today,” he said.

He said the reason the government hasn’t given much attention to erosion is because it is not revenue generating, stressing that, “It is left for your Chairman and Members to convince the government to see that erosion control affects all and it is a revenue generation head. I have had the opportunity to work with engineers and to say the least, bioremediation is one of the things that has touched me since I took over.”

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Engr. Bemigho Ofoeyeno, Vice President, Collaboration and Linkages, NSE

On her part, Engr. (Mrs) Margaret Oguntala, President of NSE, represented by Engr. Bemigho Ofoeyeno, Vice President, Collaboration and Linkages, NSE, said, “We have used the cable concrete or concrete mattress as we call it for the protection of erosion-prone areas and waterways and it is working perfectly.”

READ ALSO: C’River NDDC Rep assures workers his unwavering support

The NSE President while commending the Chairman of NSE, Calabar Branch, Engr. (Dr) Desmond Ewa, appealed to governments at all levels to buy into the idea of cable concrete to tackle erosion in the country. “I am appealing to the government of Nigeria and also our governments in South South, to buy into the idea of using cable concrete for the protection of erosion-prone areas because if used, it will reduce economic cost and protect the areas for a long time. I know in areas like Cross River, we have it everywhere and what we can use to protect this is concrete mattress or cable concrete.”

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Cable concrete

The President noted further that cable concrete will not just solve Nigeria’s erosion problem if properly implemented but, “will protect the soil and the hills from coming down and otherwise, protect our environment.”

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Engr. (Dr) Desmond Ewa, Chairman of NSE, Calabar Branch

Engr. (Dr) Desmond Ewa, Chairman of NSE, Calabar Branch, said they have been on the constant lookout for new innovative ways to tackle environmental issues, adding, “We here in NSE Calabar, since the memorial lecture was instituted about eight years ago, we’ve always brought to public discourse many issues, issues that can address problems. Last year, we talked about power distribution and we brought the Edo State model here and today, the Cross River State Government is making efforts to implement it. Today, we are looking at gully erosion remediation and the innovative way is cable concrete.”

Ewa said the government is the reason why they had the public lecture on how to tackle gully erosion. “We trusted this through the Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, he, in turn, told us that His Excellency, Governor Bassey Otu, asked him to research, so when we paid him a courtesy call as part of our collaboration, the work came up – all we could do is call the experts and that’s why Mr Nnamdi Eguh came all the way from Canada to come tell us,” he said.

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Cable concrete

The Calabar Branch Chairman of NSE said they have been using other conventional ways to tackle gully erosion in the state, and many have failed with the cost burden upon their shoulders.

“What prompted this theme is sustainability – the materials are locally sourced and that is good news. We have problems in the country because we import a lot and when you keep importing, you’ll have problems. Today, naira goes up and down and the fight against naira and dollar is because we depend more on importation and we’re not producing. So, when we become a producing nation or a country that uses locally made materials for our production and manufacturing, the pressure on naira will come down.

“We’ve been using other conventional methods, recently for the past 8 or 12 years, NEWMAP has used gabions and we’ve seen the limitation of it, now we’re trying to use another form of material which is cable concrete as demonstrated today,” Ewa said.

Ewa noted importantly that they are going to study the innovation and come up with a brochure. He also advised the government to arrest erosion problems before there escalate.

“We’ll need to have a design brochure where we will study the design. The joy is that we already have application in Edo, so, if what has been applied there is still standing, why not, we can apply it here.

“We can’t just encourage the government to jump at it until it is proven and well, from the Edo testimony, it is proven, so why not, we can recommend that the government should give it a trial.

“The government should also be prompt in arresting or responding to gully erosion, it shouldn’t wait until the finger becomes a gully. In fact, they should be a maintenance culture to prevent erosion,” he maintained.

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
Mr Nnamdi Eguh, Vice President Africa for International Erosion Constrol Systems Inc. (IECS) (2nd left), receiving an award from Engr. Bemigho Ofoeyeno, Vice President, Collaboration and Linkages, NSE (3rd left)

Delivering the lecture on Cable Concrete, Mr Nnamdi Eguh, Vice President Africa for International Erosion Constrol Systems Inc. (IECS) (a Canadian company that produces pre-cast solutions for erosion challenges), said cable concrete can provide a wide range of solutions to a variety of applications such as riverbank protection, culvert inlet/outlet protection, spillways, channel lining, pond lining, pipeline protection, lagoon protection, low water crossings, dam overflow/intakes, access roads, overflow/weirs, boat ramps, gully erosion, among others.

“We’ve been in Nigeria for like six years, and the reason for this lecture is because there’s a lot of erosion challenges and we believe we can solve these challenges if we’re given an opportunity,” Eguh said.

He added: “Nigeria engineers are very skilled, talented and knowledgeable – we have no doubt that they understand the significance and importance of our product. One of the things we’re trying to sell to them is to design it into their work so that we can make the application and reduce erosion in Nigeria and Cross River State in particular.”

Eguh also said the maintenance for the cable concrete is free and is permanent, environmentally friendly, cost-effective and better than gabions and other conventional methods.

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
A photo section of NSE members with guest lecturer and stakeholders

One of the engineers in Cross River State, Engr. Wofai Ewa, Fellow of NSE, while speaking to newsmen after the lectures said: “It is timely that we have this lecture because about 31 states are prone to flooding in Nigeria, according to the current release by NiMET and having seen this solution work in different countries, I think it’s time we also start looking at implementing it in Nigeria, particularly in Cross River State where we also have flooding and erosion issues.

Speaking further, Ewa said, “We’re going to look at the communique and see where we can trace some of the points that we need to present to the government but it’s timely that the Cross River State Government need to look at this solution as a long term solution for flooding and erosion problems.

“As an engineer, I am looking at cost, flexibility, innovation, so, the presenter confirmed the comparison to the nearest competitor, which is about 30-40% cheaper. So, for engineers like myself, who are keen to reduce cost and time to create a solution, this is timely.”

Engineers seek collaboration with CRSG to tackle gully erosion using cable concrete
A cross-section of NSE members

CONVERSEER reports that a citation on the life and time of Late Engr. Chief John Egbe was read by his daughter, and certificates of participation were given to the attendees.

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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