Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Determined to tackle gully erosion that has been ravaging some parts of Katsina State, the World Bank, in collaboration with the state government, has launched the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP) in the state.
NEWMAP is a World Bank supported project launched at the national level in 2013 aimed at reducing the vulnerability of soil erosion in targeted catchment areas in Nigeria.
The World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaqud, at the launch Thursday in Katsina, said the rationale for the project was to alleviate the dangers of flooding by providing drainage and managing flood risks in the state.
Benmessaqud, represented by the Project Team Leader, Dr. Amos Abu, said the NEWMAP intervention programme would also make efforts to avoid damage caused by erosion by controlling run-off and preventing pollution and retaining natural systems.
He said: “Under the project, the World Bank is contributing $5 million to address the problem of gully erosion in the state via the provision of drainages and other water channels that will curtail the menace in the affected communities.”
Benmessaqud said NEWMAP has chosen 106 sites across the 34 local government areas of the state, among several gully sites for the first phase of the intervention.
In his remarks, Governor Aminu Bello Masari said the partnership has lifted his administration’s burden, adding that government has paid N500 million into the Government Counterpart Fund account.
He explained that his administration had received over 3,000 requests from the communities for the control of flood, erosion and related issues “and using the limited available resources and amidst competing demands”.
“We have to date expended well over N6 million in addressing environmental challenges across the state. These results are evident in 118 flood and erosion control projects benefiting sites in over 150 communities across the nooks and crannies of the state,” Masari said.
The governor urged NEWMAP to deploy innovative erosion control techniques and robust integration of flexible structures to tackle the menace of gully erosion in the state.
On his part, the NEWMAP Project Coordinator, Katsina State, Mr. Ashiru Muhammad, said the project’s target was to bring succor to communities ravaged by erosion and land degradation in the state.
Muhammad said residents of the benefiting communities were being sensitised on the essence of the project and the need to queue into it through active participation for the sustainability of the project.