…Edo to benefit from $1bn ecological grant
The World Bank and the European Union Investment Bank have scored Edo State as one of two best states in Nigeria, where projects are being executed in line with global best standards.
The state’s new ranking is based on her transparency and other reforms adopted by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in executing projects.
The assessment of the state was disclosed during a courtesy visit by representatives of the World Bank and the European Union Investment Bank, to governor Obaseki at Government House in Benin City.
Task Team Leader I, Nigeria Erosion & Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), World Bank, Dr Amos Abu commended the commitment of the Obaseki led-administration in tackling gully erosion ravaging communities in parts of the state, adding that Edo State is one of the two best states in Nigeria in the implementation of projects funded by the World Bank.
Abu said: “It is because of the trust the Bank has in Edo that money is given directly to the state government to implement its projects along with her budget. Edo State has not been interfering in the bid and procurement processes of the World Bank projects.”
Abu expressed the bank’s delight at the commitment of the state government in executing projects funded by international donor agencies, adding that the World Bank has increased the grant to fight ecological problems in Nigeria from $500 million to $1 billion.
The Team Leader, European Union (EU) Investment Bank, Mr Jaime Barragan, said that his team was in Edo State for “due diligence assessment of the erosion problem in the state.”
According to Barragan, “The Bank has earmarked 175 million Euros for gully erosion problems in Nigeria, and from what I am seeing in the presentation by the Governor, Edo needs urgent approval and I must say that the state is ahead of other states in Nigeria in the fight against gully erosion.”
Governor Godwin Obaseki who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, said the state government is poised to tackling gully erosion problem in the state, adding that the government has commenced the process of awarding contracts to reclaim seven erosion sites while eight others have been marked as deserving urgent attention.
Obaseki highlighted the dangers gully sites pose to people of the state, and stressed that there was need for speedy approval of funds to effectively tackle the challenges.
He said the state government has made it a policy to allow communities take ownership of projects, which has led to speedy completion and proper maintenance of the Auchi and Queen Ede gully erosion sites, noting that the approach has been adopted in tackling erosion sites in Ibore and Ewu.
The governor assured that the state government will ensure due diligence in all processes of governance, as well as maintaining international best practice in the quality of services to people of the state.
He expressed appreciation to the World Bank for its past interventions in reclaiming gully erosion sites in the state, adding that the government was looking forward to better partnership deals in its bid to developing smart cities with less environmental hazards and better management of waste and flood.
The erosion sites advertised for contracts are in: Edo College, Ogiso/Osunde, Ambrose Alli University, Igbe quarters, Auchi, Fugar-Agenebode Road, and Ikpoba Hill.
The eight sites which the state government has penciled down for urgent attention are in Iguosa, Afuze, Uzogbon/Ugboha, Jattu, Ihinmwinrin, Iwogban, Ogba and Igueben/Eguare/Idumogo.