By Chimezie Anaso
The Anambra Government has expressed concern over the number of active erosion sites in the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Dr Romanus Ejikeme, expressed the worry in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday.
He said that there were not less than 600 active sites, out of the 950 geo-referenced erosion sites in the state.
He, however, said that the state government, within the limits of its resources, was carrying out intervention works in 10 sites.
“We have more than 600 active erosion sites and this is not exhaustive because we have written to about 181 communities to update us with the number of erosion sites in their neighbourhoods.
“The governor has approved palliative works in not less than 10 of these sites; these sites include Agwu-Achi, Nkwele-Ezunaka, Akpaka, Ebenebe, Oranto-Ukpo, Ring Road at Ukpo bypass, Nnewi-Ichi, Utuh and Iheakuba-Amichi.
“The one at Ekwueme Square road is massive and beyond what the state can handle because it will cost hundreds of millions of naira,” he said.
Ejikeme decried the slow pace of intervention by the Nigerian Erosion Watershed and Management Project in the state, even after the state government had paid its counterpart funds in full.
He said that bureaucratic bottlenecks hindering approval for the commencement of civil works at the sites were not good, in the light of the urgency of the situation.
Ejikeme called on the World Bank to quickly start rehabilitation works at the approved sites and save the residents of the affected areas from untold hardship.
“We cannot wait for NEWMAP because of the bureaucratic bottlenecks affecting its processes.
“So, government is putting palliative measures in place with regard to the erosion on Ekwueme Square road so as to ensure that it does not cut the road.
“There are about 15 erosion sites on which NEWMAP is intervening but Agulu, Oko and Nanka erosion sites are not among these sites.
“It has not been easy, there is so much bureaucracy in getting these jobs done; it is not solely in our hands to execute these jobs and the World Bank has a principal role to play.
“But the Anambra State Government has paid its counterpart fund in full with regard to that project,” he said. (NAN)