Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chied Edward Onoja, Received in audience on behalf of Governor Yahaya Bello, the World Bank team led by Dr. Amos Abu, Technical Team Lead and Dr Joy Agene, co Technical Team Lead on Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), accompanied by the National coordinator of the project, Alhaji Salisu Dahiru, in Lokoja, Kogi state capital.
While Making His Remarks, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon Victor Adewale Omofaiye introduced the team to the Deputy Governor, informing him of how himself and the Kogi State Coordinator of the project, Barr. Ladi Ahmed Jatto is to tour-guide the visitors across the sites where erosion Management works are ongoing, starting from Kogi East, with a visit to the Palace of His Royal Majesty, the Attah Igala, Dr Michael Ameh Idakwo II before traveling to Ogugu and other parts of the state.
According to Dr Abu, the project is a World Bank Assisted effort at addressing Nigeria’s gully erosion sites in Southern and Northern Nigeria. He thanked the Kogi State Government for providing the needed counterpart funding which he says was the catalyst to the project acceleration in sites like Ofante-Adupi erosion management site in Kogi East and Agassa in Kogi Central. He disclosed that the world bank and NEWMAP team would be on some days tour of the project sites to assess level of work done so far, also adding that other sites in Ankpa LGA, Ogane-Aji in Dekina LGA, Adavi LGA have also been added to the sites which would receive attention.
He revealed that the project started with 7 states in Nigeria, expanding to 25 states with the team rejecting requests from another five states in the country, adding that the enabling environment provided by Governor Bello is the reason why the project which has 18 months winding up stake would be able to achieve much.
He also added that Kogi state NEWMAP is a shining star in Nigeria, stating how his recommendation would fall to other states to understudy mode of execution from the side of the government of Kogi state so far. He finally congratulated the Governor and His Deputy for their recent victory at the polls.
In his responses, the Deputy Governor thanked the team for coming the state, noting that statistics from the various areas where the ongoing projects and others contributed in no small measure in to the success of the last election, which according to him shows how impactful the projects have been perceived by the people where they are cited. He added that the standard of the ongoing project when compared with other projects shows a high standard of delivery and professionalism.
At the executive session held with the team before they departed on Wednesday morning to project locations, he assured that adequate security would be provided for the team as they tour the state, noting that His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello takes the matter of security seriously along with pockets of ugly incidence that may arise.
He also revealed that in the area of counterpart funding, the Governor would do more , not just in this regard but other areas that would transform Kogi state on the pedestal of her developmental goals.
He also appealed to the team to capture the banks of Lokoja, the state capital which is in pitiable state due to the falls from the Mount Patti. He says such intervention would seize the landscape of the city from further depreciation.
He appreciated the entire team on behalf of Governor Yahaya Bello and thanked them for coming.
Giving the votes of thanks, the Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, Dr. Mrs Ayoade Folashade Arike thanked the team for believing in the vision of the New Direction Government in transforming the state. She noted that the tourism potentials of the state along with her hospitality would be a relishing experience for the team through their stay.
Other officials present at the meeting are top consultants to the teams, academics and support staff to the project.