MINISTER of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril has commended the efforts of the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State in sustaining the set objectives of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), in tackling ecological challenges in the country.
Speaking during the inauguration of three projects executed by the Enugu State Project Management Unit of NEWMAP in the state, which is a World Bank assisted project, the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Bolatito Obisesan, said that Enugu NEWMAP is “a leading light” in the implementation of the agency’s objectives. The projects inaugurated were the 9th Mile Erosion Site, Ajali Water Works Gully Erosion Site and the Enugu NEWMAP Ultra Modern Office Complex in Enugu.
Alhaji Jibril, who commended the state government for bringing succour and big relief to the benefiting communities, also expressed delight that the Enugu NEWMAP has recorded remarkable achievements in tackling the issues of gully erosion in the state.
The minister added that the interventions by Enugu NEWMAP have led to land reclamation and restoration of areas affected by land degradation, thereby leading to more sustainable and greener environment.
He stated that such vital interventions have resulted in the protection of lives and property and provision of more opportunities for growth and development in the communities.
The minister maintained that all these gains would not have been achieved without the synergy, commitment and collaboration of the state government, stressing, “this is important and has immensely contributed to the achievements of the project’s objectives of reducing the vulnerability caused by erosion and land degradation”.
In his opening address, the Project Coordinator of Enugu NEWMAP, Vincent Obetta, applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for fulfilling the conditions given by the World Bank for states to participate in the additional financing by approving the sum of N500 million for counterpart funding for operational activities in this phase.
Inaugurating the projects, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who was elated with the completion of works at the erosion sites by the State Project Management Unit (SPMU) of the agency, noted that it will not only guarantee continuous water reticulation and a significant improvement in water supply to the entire Enugu metropolis but also will remove the threat that gully erosion had posed to lives and property of people around the 9th Mile area”.
The governor disclosed that his administration had made available the sum of N500 million to demonstrate the political will to qualify for Additional Finance Programme of the World Bank, and has equally approved Anyazurum Ohom-Orba, Onuiyi-Nsukka and Enugu-Ngwo gully erosion sites as priority sites of this administration.