WorldStage Newsonline– The Federal Government of Nigeria has reclaimed 23,000 hacteres of degraded land and completed 56 gully erosion sites in various parts of the country, the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi said.
Speaking at a Valedictory ceremony for Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) on Sunday in Abuja, he said said over 25,000 households benefited.
He said that the NEWMAP was established in collaboration with World Bank and its partner agencies in 2012 to adress gully erosion and other forms of land degradation in 23 states across the country.
“Over 185,000 persons have received project advisory training.
“The project is to reduce vulnerability to gully erosion and other forms of land degradation focusing on preventing and restoring further land degradation.
“The aim is also to enhance the livelihoods of beneficiary communities.
“I must reiterate that the achievements of NEWMAP are in line with the goals of Mr President’s administration,” he said.
Abdullahi said that the project was also focused on urban stormwater management, climate change adaptation and resilience, water harvesting, climate smart agriculture, among others
He said that the impact of NEWMAP had been felt all over the country, including in some states that were not participating in the project.
He said that the NEWMAP won 5 awards in 2019, as overall best project in entire World Bank Nigeria portfolio, best project in results and innovation and best project in disbursement.
“It also won first position in audience award category under sustainable awards for World Bank projects in Africa Region and second position in the Africa sustainable development team,” he said.
The minister appreciated the World Bank, partner agencies, the states, NEWMAP team and other stakeholders who contributed in making the project a huge success.
The minister was represented by Alhaji Abdulhadi Abdullahi, his Special Assistant.
The National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Dr Salisu Dahiru, said the aim of the event was to put the record and achievement of the NEWMAP before the public, ministries and the World Bank that sponsored the project.
Dahiru said that the first phase of the NEWMAP spent 500 million dollars in the execution of the project.
He said that another two grants were given by Global Environmental Facilities and Special Climate Change Fund, adding that one was about three million dollars while the other was about four million dollars grant.
“But the 500 million dollars was approved for only seven states then.
“It was agreed between the Federal Government and the World Bank that if the number of the states participating in the project later increased, then there should be additional fund.
“So, when the number of participating states increased from seven to 19, the need to have this additional financing came up,” he said.
The national coordinator said that each states among those first seven, were given opportunity to implement only five gully erosion sites.
He said that states like Anambra, the gully erosion sites alone could have taken almost half of the amount.
He said that increase in the number of states led to additional sites, adding that some of the erosion in the sites were huge.
“These made it necessary for additional financing, then World Bank decided to provided 400 million dollars.
“But that 400 million dollars as at that time was the estimate of the gullies that needed to be rehabilitated,” he said.
Dahiru said that the NEWMAP was still left with some short fund, adding that some states and federal level brought counterpart fund.
He said that the efforts had helped in ensuring that the project was implemented. (