SENATE URGES ITS RELEVANT COMMITTEES, NEMA, NEWMAP & OTHER CONCERNED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO IMMEDIATELY INTERVENE IN THE EROSION MENACE, RAVAGING COMMUNITIES IN IMO WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICT, IMO STATE
The Senate has urged its Committees on Environment, Finance, National Planning and Economic Affairs, Water Resources and works, to jointly work with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Nigeria Erosion and watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), and immediately intervene in the Erosion menace that has continued to ravage communities in the twelve Local Governments that make up Imo West Senatorial District.
Other Federal Agencies also listed by the Senate to be part of the intervention are, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and other relevant Federal Government Agencies that have roles to play in the bid to arrest the ugly situation.
Moving the motion to that effect, on Tuesday, during the senate sitting, presided over by the senate president, Dr Ahmed Lawan, Senator Okorocha told his colleagues that previous efforts to control the erosion menace in the affected communities had failed woefully, adding that, if nothing urgent is done at the moment, the communities might be submerged by erosion.
Aside the affected communities, Senator Okorocha also pointed out that some link roads in the Senatorial District, including federal roads, have also been cut off, by erosion, making those living in those areas helpless and visitors in their own state, because they cannot connect the rest of the states.
He mentioned some of the affected roads and communities as Umueshi Community, Owerri-Orlu-Ideato-Uga road, which is a federal road, Orlu-Mgbee-Umuchima-Obichi-Urualla road and others, which he said, have totally collapsed, with large gullies.
Okorocha stated “although the government had assisted in the past in addressing the menace caused by erosion in some parts of Imo West Senatorial zone, but currently, many of the affected areas have never benefitted from the Federal Government’s Erosion Management and Rehabilitation, and while the assisted areas, have continued to experience annual despair.”
According to him, “in 2019, the Imo State Management Unit of the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (IMO NEWMAP) awarded a contract for the construction and remediation works at Eziala-Obizi, Iyiuzo-Ogberuru, Umueshi and Umunumo-Ibeafor Erosion Sites. In 2014 and 2015 respectively, the Imo State Erosion and Watershed Management Project (IMO NEWMAP) assisted with erosion management, gully rehabilitation, compensation for loss of properties and resettlement of persons that lost their houses due to the Umueshi Erosion.
“I am worried that although the Federal and State Governments had assisted in the past in curbing the menace, it keeps re-occurring every year especially during the rainy season, thereby causing the inhabitants of these areas continued loss of properties and means of livelihood, due to the damage done to their farmlands.” he stated
Okorocha stressed that if no urgent action is taken to curb the raging effect of erosion in these communities, this may also lead to loss of lives and even more devastating economic consequences for the people of the affected communities.
The Senators adopted the motion and then urged the Senate Committees on Environment, Finance, National Planning and Economic Affairs, Water Resources and Works, to jointly inter-face with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and other relevant Stakeholders to not only intervene, but to find out why previous Federal Government and state government’s Interventions had failed to yield a lasting solution to the menace.
The Senate also maintained that a permanent and sustainable solution should be found to the menace and then asked its committees involved, to report its findings within 2 weeks. The Senate also directed Nigeria Erosion and watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to include these areas affected by Erosion in Imo West Senatorial Zone in their 2020 work plan, and would issue further directives as deemed expedient in the circumstance to ensure compliance to the resolution.
Special Adviser (Media)
To the former Governor,
Senator Rochas Okorocha.
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