News Column

World Bank Urges States to Access u.S.$508 Million Erosion Control Fund

June 27, 2014

Chukwujekwu Ilozue

State governments bedevilled by erosion problems have been advised to access the $508 million earmarked for erosion control by the World Bank.

Task team leader of World Bank, Amos Abu, gave this advice in Awka, Anambra State capital, on Thursday during the launching of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) designed to tackle erosion problems all over the country.

Abu said the programme was being launched in Anambra because the state has met the conditions to draw from the fund and is the first in the country to pay the series of tranches to be able to benefit. He, however, said what is even more important is how the money is used.

According to him, the watershed approach adopted in the use of the fund is holistic. At the moment, he said, World Bank has finalised study of four sites in Anambra state namely: the Onitsha-Omagba, Amachara, Nero plaza and Abagana sites.

However, in his speech, Governor Willie Obiano said the four sites listed are the least worrisome and wondered why World Bank left the big ones to tackle.

He said Anambra has over 1000 erosion sites with 70 per cent of them active resulting in loss of lives and property. He said the state would appreciate if the World Bank can go into big erosion sites as Oko, Nanka, Oraukwu, Ekwulobia, Utu, among others.

Obiano also said the state government has already paid N500 million counterpart and is prepared to increase it to N1billion to ensure that the problem is solved. He noted that erosion knows no boundary and recalled that in 2006, the whole population of Umuchiani village, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area was relocated when much of the village was swallowed in a deep erosion gully.

He also assured that his administration would work with all partners to achieve its target in erosion control, praising President Goodluck Jonathan for timely intervention in the problem and hoped that in the next eight years, Anambra will be able to get its own share of the erosion fund.

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Source: AllAfrica

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