By Agbo Amuche, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi on Wednesday warned residents of the State to desist from dumping of waste into drainage channels, encroachment on waterways, illegal sand mining and other forms of practices that would aggravate soil erosion, flooding as it retards Government efforts to enthrone wholesome and safe environment among the residents
Umahi gave the warning while flagging off the implementation of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) Community action plans and distribution of sub-grants to the various Community interest groups and Community Associations of NEWMAP intervention Communities.
The efforts which were geared to support them in the livelihood restoration and enhancement, being the associated benefits of the world Bank assisted NEWMAP to the victims of flood disaster in the State at the Ministry of Environment, Abakaliki, the State Capital.
Governor Umahi who was represented at the event by the State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Richard Nnabu, lauded the efforts of NEWMAP in curtailing the hazards of flood in all the nooks and crannies of the State since 2013, especially its remediation works at the Nguzu Edda gully site where erosion menace had sacked Afikpo South Council Headquarters and 19.13km channelization works of the major rivers within the capital city of Abakaliki.
He also commended the NEWMAP for the provision of solar powered motorized boreholes, energy efficient cooking stoves, customized roadside waste bins to institutions , communities, empowering youths with cargo tricycles, agro processing mill to Ebia Unuhu Community among others.
He noted that the sum of three hundred and three million, eight hundred and eighty-seven thousand, three hundred and two naira (303,887,302.00) was distributed to the victims as sub-grants to improve their means of livelihood.
Umahi further enjoined the beneficiaries to use the fund for the intended purposes to achieve set objectives and thanked World Bank and Federal Government of Nigeria for supporting the State through the NEWMAP initiatives.
Speaking, the Coordinator of NEWMAP in the State, Mr. Philip Echiegu, while highlighting on their achievements, said Ebonyi State Government keyed into the project with twin problems of gully and flood, and stated that they had intervened on the flood disasters which was constituting threat to lives and properties where farms, homes, public institutions and infrastructures were flooded in Afikpo South Local Government Area Headquarters and Abakaliki Capital City respectively.
According to him, “Before the NEWMAP intervention, gully and erosion had sacked Afikpo South Local Government Headquarters and flooding constituted a major threat to lives and properties in Abakaliki Capital City. Movements were disreputed, homes, farms, and public institutions and infrastructures were flooded. Business and roads were inaccessible, schools and communities were cutoff, these situation have been reversed by the NEWMAP”
“Remediation of works at Nguzu Edda gully site, Afikpo South Local Area, flood control/ bioremedia/ fencing works at Odunukwe- Nkaliki Hatchery Road site of 2.87km total length.
“Design for Oferekpe-Akahufu-Odomowo flood site 100% completed and validated (cleared) by World Bank. Design for old Water Works flood site produced but still under review by the world Bank. Storm water Management master plan for Abakaliki Capital City 100% completed cleared by the world Bank”
He noted that NEWMAP had provided eighteen (18nons) 12,000 liters Capacity solar powered Motorized Boreholes in Project intervention Communities and other Communities in the State, the construction of Solar Powered garri processing mill for Orokeonuoha cooperative society, Ebia Unuhu, training of the Local Government Town Engineers, and HOD Agric in the entire State to strengthen their capacity to sustain and maintain project works”.
” Support of 20 Community interest groups and one Community association at Nguzu Edda with the sum of 27m for the establishment of small scale enterprises as part of livelihood support initiatives in the area among other achievements”.
Some of the beneficiaries who bared their minds to our correspondent including Mr. Ikechukwu Ogbonna, Mrs Oluchi Onyibe among others, described the intervention of NEWMAP and Ebonyi State Government as timely and commended them for coming to their aid while assuring to utilize the fund judiciously.
Highlights of event were handing over of millions of naira cheques to the affected Communities and distribution of efficient clean cooking stoves, bio- fuel gel, polo among others.