By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THE Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril has attributed the increasing erosion menace in various parts of the country to what he described as harmful environmental practices by many Nigerians.
The minister, who spoke while declaring open a training programme on Catchment Management Planning of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, in Awka, said there is need for people to know the causes of erosion, such as harmful agricultural practices like bush burning, deforestation and incessant sand mining without regulation, among others.
The programme, which was organized in collaboration with the World Bank, drew participants from seven states of the federation, namely Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Cross River and Edo.
Jibril said that the Federal Government was committed to ending erosion menace in the affected states, adding that serious actions were being taken to ensure that the affected areas, especially the worst hit states, were given sound remedial measures.
According to him, government was applying a holistic systematic approach in dealing with erosion, in order to achieve the desired target.
He said that the country had the best standards and the global best practice in fighting the menace and informed the participants that the money meant for the project was not for free, as it was a loan taken from the World Bank, which has to be paid back.
While commending NEWMAP on its activities, the minister observed that the beauty of it was that it is not restricting itself to the bioremediation or reclaiming of the land, but also on road construction, which was factored into the project.
He added: “NEWMAP is bringing a new concept; it is getting us into a holistic approach to tackle erosion menace, not only in the South East, but the entire country. So I am impressed with what I have seen so far.”
The project coordinator of NEWMAP in Anambra State, Mr. Michael Ivenso promised that the organization would leave no stone unturned in its efforts to win the war against erosion in the state.
While in Awka, the Minister took time off to visit erosion site being handled by NEWMAP at Amachalla village in Awka.