The Nigeria Erosion and Water Management Project (NEWMAP), Anambra Office says the contract for control intervention at the massive gully erosion ravaging parts of Agulu, Nanka, Oko were yet to be awarded.
NEWMAP made the clarification in a Statement issued by Mr Emeka Achebe, Project’s Communications Officer in Awka
Achebe who was reacting to the joint appeal of the leadership of the three communities to the World Bank joint financiers of NEWMAP not abandon the project said their demands would be given priority attention.
Part of the letter to the country Director of NEWMAP said some time ago, NEWMAP team paid visits to their communities and mobilised them to support their preliminary works including engineering design, survey, resettlement plan and environmental impact assessment.
They pleaded that the Country Director should use his good offices to cause urgent intervention at Agulu-Nanka-Oko as promised without further delay to avert loss of lives and property.
Achebe said NEWMAP had met with the representatives of the affected communities where they were urged to exercise patience and assured that their appeals would be escalated to the national office of NEWMAP for due consideration.
The NEWMAP Communications Officer expressed surprised over allegations that the leadership of the communities had embezzled the money meant for the gully erosion project described it as false and regrettable.
“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 NEWMAP has met with the leadership 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.
“The World Bank, Federal and Anambra governments have not abandoned the three communities, we commiserates with the people of Agulu, Nanka and Oko communities especially their traditional rulers on the erosion menace in their communities.
“That the misinformation and accusations against leadership of the three communities of embezzling the funds for the award of the site is both false and regrettable.
“Neither Anambra 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 quarters for quick action and advise that all appeals, questions and clarifications should be directed to the State Government through the Ministry of Environment in Awka.,” he stated.
Achebe said Anambra had benefitted immensely from NEWMAP intervention in active collaboration with the state government with 14 projects either completed or ongoing as against the initial target of five at inception of the Project in the state.
He said NEWMAP had also provided technical support for relevant projects in the state in line with world best practices adding a lot still needed go be done especially now that there was high threat of negative impacts of climate change to the environment.
“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. Willie 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 include a storm water masterplan for Onitsha metro area, which will provide the blueprint for permanent solution to the flood problem in Onitsha and its vicinity.
“That the state is exploring opportunities for additional sources of fund for climate change and elated and ecological problems in Anambra,” he stated.
Achebe said Anambra NEWMAP was appealing to communities in Anambra to adopt the right environmental practices to arrest emerging gullies, especially now that the rains was around the corner.