by crossriverwatch admin
Cross River State government has concluded plans to start the first phase of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP within five gully sites considered deadly in the state.
This was disclosed by the project coordinator, Mr. Fidelis Anukwa while addressing journalists in Calabar after a sensitization program on Monday. Mr. Anukwa said, “The project is co-funded by the World Bank, the blue print for the project has been designed and approved and work will soon commence”. He revealed also that the grant from the World Bank has a loan component that the state government will in due course pay back.
He said they expect the communities involved to corporate with them in all ramification because the project is aimed at making them enjoy the dividends of democracy which they are entitled to. Maintaining that the communities have special role to play such as security, man power and maintenance after the project is completed.
On her part, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer CRS NEWMAP, Engr. Osam Okpa while speaking to CrossRiverWatch pledged to thoroughly follow up every process in the project warning that no lackadaisical attitude will be tolerated.
She advised that the only way the communities involved will enjoy the project is to work hand in hand with her team in ensuring that every Naira put in the project is not frivolous.
The consultant for the project sensitization, Mrs. Mojisola Akpojiyoubi said they have not faced any major challenges so far other than normal hitches.
Mrs. Mojisola promised that at the end of the sensitization process the people will be fully aware of their role and what to expect.
Chairman Nyaghasang community, Dr. Edem Asuquo involved with the World Bank CRS NEWMAP project, disclosed that before now they have not been experiencing erosion problems but the present gully erosion challenges are as a result of the poor water diversion channel done by the contractor that handled the construction of Access road, Akpandem and Canaan Avenue in 2011.
He expressed worry that presently they are exposed to great danger as “some houses are at the edge of the gully, some their fences have collapsed, peoples farm have been washed away but our luck is that so far no life is lost yet unlike other people”, he said.
According to him, “My committee will ensure safety of all materials brought to site but local contents in terms of labor force base on arrangement with the contractor and the project coordinator, we will ensure that those slots comes to and I encourage others to do same”.
In the same vein, Chief Cocoa Bassey, Chairman of Bayside Community Development Association expressed happiness with the team as they visited them.
He noted that before now they have been suffering from the effect of the gully erosion which according to him has pulled down lots of buildings, washed away farms, poison their fresh water and made surviving a dare venture for them.
The five critical gully sites are at Ikot Anwatim, Ikot Ekpo, Edim Otop, Nyaghasang, and Atakpa (Bayside) all in Calabar South and Municipality Local Government Areas.
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