The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project ( NEWMAP ) says it has not abandoned the very gigantic Agulu-Nanka-Oko gully erosion project covering Anaocha and Orumba-North local government areas of Anambra state.
NEWMAP in a statement signed by the communications officer in Anambra, Mr.Emeka Achebe , noted that contrary to the opinions expressed in a letter written to the Country-Director of World Bank in Abuja by representatives of the erosion-affected communities , said it was pertinent to set the records straight because NEWMAP has successfully completed some erosion sites and still working on some others in Anambra state.
NEWMAP in the statement affirmed that Agulu-Nanka-Oko gully erosion has not been awarded for intervention , let alone being abandoned even as the statement confirmed that the government of Chief Willie Obiano has not defaulted in its counterpart fundings to erosion projects in the state.
The position of NEWMAP on Agulu-Nanka-Oko erosion menace as contained in the statement issued by the communications Officer reads, ” Following the letter of appeal by the leadership of the Agulu, Nanka and Oko communities of Anambra State to the World Bank Country Director lamenting the abandoned erosion project of the World Bank through NEWMAP,
” The Anambra State Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), on Tuesday May 12 2020, met with the leadership of the three communities made up of the Coordinator of the Erosion Management, Chief Damian Okeke Ogene, its Secretary, Dr. Barnabas Nwafor and the Presidents General of the three Communities to address the concerns raised in the said letter and redress the misinformation carried in the news media following their appeal.
” After an extensive deliberation, NEWMAP wishes to issue the following statement to set the records straight.
” That the World Bank, Federal and Anambra State governments has not abandoned the three communities and therefore commiserates with the people of Agulu, Nanka and Oko communities especially the traditional rulers of Agulu, H.R.H Innocent Obodoakor, H.R.H Prof Laz Ekwueme (Oko), H.R.H Godwin Ezeilo (Nanka) on the erosion menace in their communities.
” That the misinformation on the unfair accusations against leadership of the three communities of embezzling the funds for the award of the site is both false and is regrettable.
” That neither Anambra State Government, Federal Government or World Bank has awarded any contract for this site. It is impossible that contract for such a high-visibility project and scope be awarded without anyone hearing about it.
” That NEWMAP will escalate the appeal made by the three communities to the appropriate state entity for quick action. We advise that all appeals, questions and clarifications should be directed to the State Government through the Ministry of Environment in Awka.
” That Anambra State has benefited immensely from NEWMAP across 14 communities where erosion works is ongoing or completed. This is against the initial target of 5 sites at the conception of the project. This is a solid indication of Gov. Obiano’s commitment to reversing the threat of erosion in Anambra for good.
” That the World Bank supported Anambra in carrying out all the required studies and engineering designs with a public display to allow for input from the communities to ensure the delivery of a fit-for-purpose intervention, according to global best practices. This includes a stormwater masterplan for Onitsha metro area, which will provide the blueprint for permanently solving the flood problem in Onitsha and its vicinity.
” That the state is exploring opportunities for additional sources of fund for climate change and related ecological problems in Anambra State.
” NEWMAP is advising communities in Anambra State to adopt the right environmental practices to arrest emerging gullies, especially now that the rains are here.