World Bank launches NEWMAP gully erosion project in Kogi
Determined to tackle the menace of erosion, Kogi authorities have launched the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP) in the State.
With several houses already swallowed up by erosion and hundreds of lives lost while properties worth billions went down the drain on account of the menace, the government backed the World Bank’s driven project with N100 million counterpart funding in 2016.
Under the project, the World Bank is contributing $500million, Global Environment Facility (GEF) $8million, the Federal and State Government $150million. The project, which started in 2013 with seven South Eastern States, and incorporated Kogi in the second phase of seven new states to benefit from the World Bank’s eight-year Strategic Investment Loan (SIL) of $508.59 million to ameliorate the effect of environmental degradation.
The partnership that will see to the implementation of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in vulnerable communities, he said has lifted a great burden off his administration.
Governor Yahaya Bello, who spoke at the commencement of the project, hailed the World Bank and Federal Government for collaborating with states to control the menace of gully erosion across the federation.
The Governor also called on the NEWMAP to deploy innovative erosion control techniques and robust integration of flexible structures to tackle the menace of gully erosion in the state.
Bello said that the magnitude of erosion in Kogi had resulted into much sufferings with many communities ravaged by it, adding that the sites selected were based on their severity.
Hence, NEWMAP identified eight critical sites for intervention based on the severity of the gully erosions in the State spread across the three senatorial districts in its first phase. The sites are Omigbo River channelization site in Kabba-Bunu LGA; Ogane Aji erosion site in Dekina LGA; Etahi Erosion site in Okene and Ankpa erosion site in ANKPA LGA. Others are the Adumu road gully site in Olamaboro LGA, Agassa erosion site in Okene LGA and the Ugwolawo erosion site in Ofu LGA.
The Task Team Leader (TTL) of NEWMAP, World Bank, Dr. Amos Abu, said the major challenge in erosion had been the approach, saying that the bank was bringing international best practices in partnership with federal and some State Governments in Nigeria.
According to him, the State has the flexibility of selecting as many as possible priority sites for NEWMAP to intervene.
He said NEWMAP would provide capacity building and jobs for the people to improve their standard of living. “The World Bank does not partner with states that do not show high level of commitment, even as he commended Kogi state government for prioritizing the issue of environmental degradation in the state,” he said.
The National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Mr. Salisu Dahiru, commended the government for the support the agency had so far received from Kogi, saying that such support had ensured NEWMAP’s success.
He urged traditional rulers to take full ownership of the projects since they were the primary beneficiaries of the initiative.
He said that environmental degradation is a disaster that can easily impoverished agrarian native societies, pointing out that unchecked gully erosion can wipe out farms and homes in just a few years, thereby turning land-owning families into destitutes and refugees.
Speaking at the occasion, the NEWMAP project Coordinator Kogi State, Ladi Ahmed Jatto, said that Kogi State has been faced with the problem of Erosion and land degradation resulting from heavy rainfall, hilly topography and loose soil in the eastern part of the State.
She explained that the project’s target was to bring succor to communities ravaged by erosion and land degradation in the state.
The coordinator said members of the benefiting communities are being sensitized on the essence of the project and the need to buy into it through active participation so that the project would be sustainable when executed.