Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), recently bagged Sustainable Development (SD) 2019 FY Awards, in view of its innovation and transformational approach to sustainable land management in Nigeria.
NEWMAP bagged first position in the Audience Award category and second position on Africa SD Team Awards-Jury Results, following West Africa Coastal Areas Program (WACA) -Uganda project that took first position on Team Awards-Jury Results.
The Sustainable Development Africa Award was organized by the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC and had a total of eight selected World Bank-assisted projects in Africa that participated in the competition.
Dr. Amos Abu, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank Nigeria Office and Task Team Leader, NEWMAP, during his presentation, said that the Nigerian government approached the World Bank for assistance given the enormity of erosion devastation in Nigeria.
He inferred that NEWMAP is now a model approach to erosion control and sustainable land management in Nigeria and some African countries had also visited Nigeria, to understudy the NEWMAP sustainable approach to land management.
He stated also that NEWMAP’s partnership with China and India under the umbrella of the South-South Knowledge Exchange (SSKE) has evolved as a medium of knowledge exchange on sustainable land management, amongst Nigeria, China and India.
The Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, speaking, revealed that his administration has approved the sum of 500 million Naira counterpart fund to ensure work commenced in earnest to address the psychological trauma and economic losses, resulting from the devastating effect of Umuomeji, Umuturu, Ezemazu, Urualla gully erosion sites.
While he acknowledged the success of the NEWMAP in the area of tackling land degradation, Emeka Ihedioha solicited NEWMAP and the World Bank support for an emergency action in tackling the issue of Urban Storm water in the state. The Governor thereafter, called on the contractors to work according to approved design.
In the same vein, the National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Dr. Salisu Dahiru, said the partnership and the new collaboration extended by the government of Imo State was a bold step towards finding a lasting solution to the dehumanizing erosion problem in the State through the intervention of prioritized gully erosion sites.
He noted that the Umuomeji, Umuturu, Ezemazu, Urualla gully erosion site in Urualla, Ideato North LGA of Imo State, was one of the state’s prioritized sites earlier targeted for intervention in 2016, but for some unforeseen issues, implementation process was truncated until recent events.
Salisu who spoke on behalf of the Project and Donor Partners said the project was aimed at the minimization of flood activities, rehabilitating and control of the gully from further expansion, rehabilitation of degraded lands (flood affected lands) and their conversion into productive land as well as, manage the watershed to redress the factors promoting gully erosion in the area.
The communities expressed their readiness to cooperate and work with Imo-NEWMAP in ensuring sustainable development of the Umuomeji-Umuturu, Ezeama, Urualla gully watershed.