The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, Ekiti State has emerged the overall best in tier 4 of the Project ahead of the other beneficiary States in Nigeria.
Handing over the award to Ekiti State NEWMAP at the Closing/Valedictory Ceremony and award night for NEWMAP in Abuja, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi commended Ekiti for performing exceptionally in the World Bank assisted Project.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Abdulhadi Abdullahi, the Minister noted that NEWMAP was designed in 2012 with the aim of reducing vulnerability to gully erosion and other forms of land degradation in targeted watersheds, focussing on reversing and preventing further land degradation and at the same time enhancing the livelihoods of beneficiary communities.
He noted that evidences of NEWMAP achievements are dotted all over the 23 beneficiary states and the impacts have been felt all over the country, including states that are not participating in the Project, noting that NEWMAP has completed 50 gully erosion sites and reclaimed over 23,000 hectares degraded lands amongst others.
Receiving the award, the Ekiti State NEWMAP Project Coordinator, Dr Akinyemi Akinyugha expressed gratitude to the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Environment for considering Ekiti as one of the beneficiary States in 2019.
He commended the State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi for his dogged efforts at ensuring that Ekiti State joined the Project shortly after he became governor again in 2018. Most of other beneficiary States had joined since 2013.
According to Dr Akinyugha, the Governor’s efforts and unrivaled support served as a major back bone for the success of the Project in Ekiti, resulting in rapid execution of erosion control projects in different communities in two Senatorial Districts of the State.
Some of the projects include the Ajolagun bridge in Ikere, Arinkin bridge in Ikole, Ipao channelisation, Irele Health Centre channelisation and Ogbomu culverts. Others are Afao-Oriebu, Kajola-Temidire, Bisi-Aloba/Adun Ogbon erosion control works all in Ikere Ekiti as well as afforestation of the nine forest reserves in Ekiti among others.
The World Bank NEWMAP task team leader, Dr Joy Agene and NEWMAP National Project Coordinator, Dr Salisu Dahiru charged Governors of the beneficiary States to ensure sustainability of the different projects designed to last for a period of 100 years as NEWMAP winds down.