By Joy Odor
Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has flagged-off the Lafia Storm Water and Gully Erosion Control, undertaken by the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), estimated at over N1.5bn.
Governor Sule flagged-off the project during a ceremony in Lafia, the state capital, on Friday.
According to Engineer Sule, the project, which is to be assisted by the World Bank, is meant to address the challenges of gully erosion and land degradation, particularly in the selected areas of Angwan Nungu, Shinge Road junction, through Barikin Abdullahi (BAD) Garage, via Rice Mill, to Tudun Wada, Tudun Amba, Kilema, as well as the area behind the Emir of Lafia’s palace.
The governor expressed hope that similar projects will equally be undertaken in parts of Doma, Keffi, Nasarawa and Toto LGAs.
He emphasized that, the state government is partnering with NEWMAP to implement the project, with a view to safeguarding the lives and property of the people.
“You are aware that gully erosion has, over the years, caused loss of lives, destruction to property, including damages of homes and infrastructure, leaving communities with psychological trauma,” he stated.
While noting that Nasarawa State is presently facing environmental challenges as a result of mining activities, deforestation, overgrazing and pollution through indiscriminate waste disposal, the governor said his administration is determined to address the ugly trend, through the collaboration with NEWMAP.
He recalled that, this collaboration led to the installation of the automated flood early warning system, that will detect impending flood, as well as mitigate its impact in Umaisha, Loko, Rukubi and Tunga in Toto, Nasarawa and Doma Local Government Areas respectively.
The governor used the opportunity to call on the benefiting communities and especially areas that are prone to erosion, to take precautionary steps, by avoiding building structures on drainages or waterways, as well as desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Engineer Sule equally directed NEWMAP, to continue to intensify campaigns and also collaborate with the local government areas, to set up monitoring committees, in conjunction with traditional rulers, with a view to taking proactive measures toward mitigating the devastating impact of flood and erosion.
Earlier, Nasarawa State NEWMAP Coordinator, Kwa’kaha Jonathan, lamented that, through the years, gullies have led to loss of lives, destruction of properties, stressing that, in order to tackle the menace, the Nasarawa State government, has made everything possible in order to safeguard the lives and property of the people, by making it possible for the smooth implementation of the 2020 NEWMAP World Bank approved Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP).
He particularly appreciated the governor for his intervention with the World Bank, which expidite the process leading to the flagging-off ceremony.
Jonathan disclosed that, as part of the implementation of the 2020 approved plan, NEWMAP has awarded the contract for the control of storm water and gully erosion in Lafia town.
In a goodwill message, the Emir of Lafia, HRH Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), who couldn’t hide his excitement, described the event as the best days of his life, as far as his domain is concerned.
According to the royal father, there is nothing the people of Lafia could yearn for, but to see how the old town can be salvaged from land degradation occasioned by both by natural and man made causes.
Also speaking, representative of the construction firm handling the project, Consolidated Engineering and Trading Company, promised to deliver the project according to specifications and in less than four months.