Governor Obiano informed the visiting World Bank Team that the State has a landmass of 2855sq kilometers out of which almost a quarter is badly affected by gully erosion.
He stated that there were about 950 active and rampaging sites; and lamented that it would be a disaster in the next 5years if nothing was urgently done to support the State in checking the menace that the situation was becoming.
He therefore called for a special United Nations intervention that would effectively bail the State out of the present predicament, which is in itself an emerging disaster.
The Governor however expressed deep appreciation to the World Bank for its current level of intervention in the State through the Nigeria Erosion and Water Management Project (NEWMAP) and appealed to the Bank to consider Anambra State as a special case by increasing the number of sites in its intervention priority list, promising that the State will continue to fulfill its counterpart funding obligations, the current economic situation notwithstanding.
The Governor also directed the Commissioner for Environment to liaise with the State Attorney General to draft the necessary enabling bills that will affect the required behavioral change among the people and also engender the sustainability of the current intervention works in the State.
Earlier in his remarks, Task Team Leader for the NEWMAP project, Dr. Amos Abu had informed the governor that the team was in the State to evaluate the progress of work at the gully erosion sites in the State as against the expected result and expressed satisfaction with the progress observed in the Omogba, Abagana, Amachalla and St. Thomas Aquinas/Nero’s plaza erosion sites in the State.
Dr. Abu also noted the State’s request for the Bank’s intervention in other sites as well as flood issues in the State and assured of the Bank’s readiness to partner with the State in a swift and resounding way. He reminded the governor that the Project was designed to be transformational and sustainable and therefore called for a Watershed Management Agency backed with the enabling laws and regulations to be created in the State.
On Dr. Abu’s Team were the representatives of the Food and Agricultural Organization, the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as the NEWMAP National Project Coordinator, Engineer Salisu Dahiru.