By Marry Alafin
Kogi State Government in collaboration with the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), have reaffirmed commitment to intensify efforts to tackle the menace of erosion across the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Victor Adewale Omofaiye disclosed this when he led a delegation of the World bank representatives and NEWMAP team on an assessment tour to some gully sites in Idah, Olamaboro, Okene and Adavi Local Government Areas of Kogi State.
Omofaiye noted that the tour was to have on the spot assessment of the devastating effects on affected areas by erosion and also to inspect the ongoing projects, stressing that the present administration would give optimum priority to environmental challenges in the state.
The Commissioner assured that his ministry would ensure thorough supervision of all ongoing projects due to its direct impact on the masses by improving their well being and bringing succour to erosion victims.
Omofaiye, who clamoured for the extension of the laudable NEWMAP projects, restated the determination of Gov. Yahaya Bello’s administration to leave legacies that would inspire the next generation.
The commissioner urged stakeholders and communities to give the necessary support to the contractors and create enabling environment for speedy completion of all the ongoing NEWMAP projects across the state.
Also speaking, the Task Team Leader of the World Bank representatives, Dr Amos Abu, expressed concern with the level of work done at some of the sites especially in the Eastern part of the state, and urged the contractors to ensure quality job and expedite action for speedy completion.
Abu described the erosion situation in Ungwa in Idah LGA as devastating, saying that it has all the trappings of an emergency response site.
He promised that NEWMAP would begin work immediately on the site in an emergency response mode to reduce vulnerability and bring succour to the people of the community.
Abu commended the State Government for its commitment to the project, while lauding the tireless effort of the NEWMAP State Project Coordinator, Barr. Ladi Jatto, for her resilience in ensuring that victims of erosion got succor.
On his part, the National Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, Alhaji Salisu Dahiru, urged the contractors to ensure that quality work was done that would be in conformity with the international best practices.
”Whatever we are going to do in terms of civil structures on those sites, are meant to last for 100 years; it should be able to withstand all the factors that are responsible for causing erosion”, Dahiru said.
The State Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, Barr. Ladi Jatto, thanked the teams from the World Bank and NEWMAP for their visit and for giving top priority to Kogi State in project execution, while commending the State Government for its commitment to tackling the menace of erosion in the state.
The world bank and the NEWMAP delegation with the team from the Ministry led by the Commissioner, also paid courtesy visits to the Attah of Igala, Dr Michael Oboni Ameh II, and the Ohinohi of Ebira Land, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, in their palaces respectively, where they thanked the royal fathers for their collaborative efforts, and solicited for more support for the projects.
In their separate coments, the two Monarchs, thanked the team for coming to the aid of their communities and people affected by erosion, while assuring the team of their support for the projects as well as the contractors.
The sites’ engineers at the various project sites visited, assured the world bank of a quality service delivery, and timely completion of the projects.
The sites visited for the two-day period by the team were: Agassa in Okene, Ozuri on Adavi, Angwa in Idah, and Ogugu in Olamaboro LGAs, among others.
Compiled By Mary Igiku-Alafi
Information Officer, Kogi State Ministry of Environment