Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP, Anambra State, has paid compensation to members of 4 communities of Abidi- Umuoji, Ndiagu-Ikenga-Ogidi,and Ugammuma-Obosi of Idemili North L.G.A and Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikkoka L.G.A. in the implementation of the resettlement action plan. The compensation paid is to pave way for the implementation of bio-remediation, civil works and other activities in the earmarked project sites within the Communities.
The Hon. Commissioner for Environment Beautification and Ecology Dr. Romanus Ejikeme made the presentations on behalf of His Excellency Gov. Obiano and charged the communities to keep off further use of those lands being compensated for so as to allow it heal completely to forestall a recurrence. The Commissioner, who is also the Steering Committee Chairman of NEWMAP in Anambra, said that previous owners could no longer lay claim to such lands as it was now under the care of the State, Federal Government and World Bank for beautification purposes.
He explained that the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) programme was designed to assist those who would lose their farmlands and economic trees in the course of civil works at the four new sites recently approved by the World Bank in the state.
The objective of the Resettlement Plans is to restore persons affected by the project to a condition equivalent to or better than the pre-project situation. This implementation was made possible by His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano who paid in full five hundred million naira counterpart fund with a pledge to make an additional five hundred million naira available when needed.
A total of N48.7 million was disbursed to 350 households under the RAP programme since March 6 in four towns of the state.
64 households in Umuoji in Idemili South received compensation amounting to N17. 4 million while 85 households in Ogidi, Idemili North, got N10.4 million. 76 households in Enugwu-ukwu, Njikkoka L.G.A. got 10.4 million and 125 households in Ugammuma-Obosi in Idemili North received N10.4 million for damages to their structures, farmlands and economic trees during construction work at the erosion sites.
According to him, “the state government has fully paid the 2017 counterpart fund for the project. We have come to compensate those who will be affected when the civil works begin at the erosion site. After the compensation, we do not expect anybody to go back to the reclaimed and bio-remediated sites. It will now be under the care of sponsors of NEWMAP who could use such places for recreational or beautification purposes to enable the areas to heal. We shall pull down any structures in such place after it has been reclaimed,” he warned.
The State project coordinator, Michael Ivenso, urged the communities to assist in monitoring the project, while he commended Governor Obiano and the World Bank for their compassionate heart in giving life to Ndi Anambra.
Also Speaking, the permanent secretary Ministry of Environment, Beautification and Ecology, and technical committee chairperson for the State NEWMAP, Dr. Ngozi Ezeike enjoined the people to adopt the global best practices for the prevention of erosion to avoid further loss of the state’s land mass to erosion.
In their separate reactions, the traditional ruler of Obosi Igwe Chidubem Iweka expressed his gratitude to Governor Obiano and NEWMAP for remembering his community and assured of their unalloyed support and corporation for the success of the project. Also speaking, the President General of the Ogidi Community, Chief Chuka Onubuogu assured NEWMAP delegates of their loyalty and cooperation in ensuring that they actualize their mission even as he assured of security and other necessary assistance., for the Deputy Prime Minister of Enugu-Ukwu, Chief Clem Nwafor they are overjoyed with the intervention, adding that the people had lived with the erosion menace for a long time. Nwafor thanked the World Bank and Anambra Government for considering the plight of the persons affected and paying them compensation to cushion their losses.
Some of the beneficiaries, Messrs Micheal Aghaebita and Daniel Udeozor while commending the state government for its benevolence, stressed that this is the very first time something of this nature has happened to them and pledged their unalloyed support to the government and NEWMAP