By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia â€” ABIA State Government needs no less than N350 billion to effectively control the menace of erosion, which is devastating some parts of the state.
According to the Commissioner for Environment, Chief Charles Ojukwu, the magnitude of the problem and the quantum of funds needed to check it was clearly beyond the capacity of the state government, hence the state was trying to source the money from external sources.
â€œWith about 2,050 active erosion sites so far identified across the state, with Isuikwuato Local Government Area being worst affected, Abia State arguably is one of the worst erosion-ravaged states in the country. Many communities have been sacked and the residents displaced in the past years, yet there is no respite in sight,â€ the Commissioner said.
Speaking with journalists, Ojukwu, disclosed that the state government had so far committed N1.2 billion towards the control of the erosion menace.
He said Abia State government did not have the financial capacity to fight the erosion menace, even as he called for the quick intervention of the Federal Government. According to him, a Save Our Soul, SOS, memo had already been sent to both the Presidency and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In the face of the lack of funds to check the menace, the Environment Commissioner lamented that the state has not been able to access the Ecological Fund, which is one of the major sources of funds for erosion related problems. Ojukwu alleged that there was selective disbursement of the fund in favour of states controlled by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
â€œThere is a kind of discriminatory action by the Federal Government on the disbursement of the Ecological Fund. I know that some PDP states have accessed funds and it have responded to calls from PDP controlled states but non_PDP controlled states have not received adequate attentionâ€, the Commissioner alleged.
He said that Abia State, a Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA,Â state is a victim of the discrimination of Ecological Fund disbursement. He urged the Federal Government to have a change of attitude on the issue. He called on the government to act quickly to save Abia State from the imminent disaster.