A popular Nollywood actress, Mrs. Patience Ozokwor (aka Mama G) has said the timely intervention of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed management Project (NEWMAP) to land degradation in some of the erosion prone areas of the South Eastern Nigeria has saved many lives and restored hopes in many household
Describing the outcome of the implementation activities of NEWMAP “as marvelous” she particularly lauded NEWMAP’s gully erosion remediation works in Amuzam, Enugu Ngwo community in Enugu State.
Mrs. Nzokwor, an indigene of Amuzam, spoke to NEWMAP officials during the inspection of the on-going civil works at the Amuzam finger of Enugu-Ngwo gully site as part of the ongoing nationwide NEWMAP Data Validation Mission.
The Nollywood Actress said “NEWMAP is a success story because the project intervention in Amuzam has brought to an end the deplorable situation experienced over time by our people.” “This is because before now, members of the community have had to watch helplessly the destruction of homes and productive farmlands by the devastating gully which had claimed so many lives.”
Mrs. Ozokwor explained that the unexpected intervention was “a God – sent answer to our prayers in the Community,” especially her brother-in-law whose house was at the verge of collapse before the arrival of NEWMAP. “Iam the President of the Women Forum in the community. The forum as well as other indigenes have had to constantly come together to offer prayers to God for solution to the ravaging gully, and NEWMAP Came,” she added.
She expressed joy that while the community was not even asked to pay any amount of money for the intervention, property owners and farmers in the area were, in addition, paid compensation.
She thanked the Governor of Enugu State, Right Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the World Bank and NEWMAP for coming to the aid of the community and enjoined the Project to teach indigenes of the area what they need to do to avert such devastation in the future in order to enhance the sustainability of the remediation works.
In different communities visited by the Mission Team, Project beneficiaries were full of joy and gratitude for the numerous benefits from the NEWMAP project. Members of the Community Interest Groups (CIGs) had stories of improved financial empowerment and skills acquisition in different vocations and businesses.
The President of Ugwuto Nsunde Widows Pig Farm, Mrs Esther Ene expressed appreciation to NEWMAP for changing their lives through piggery. She said her profit from the farm had reduced
the pain of widowhood as she had been able to pay the school fees of her children without feeling much the absence of their father.
According to her, nine of them in the group established the farm in 2016 with a grant of N1.5Million provided by NEWMAP.
In Ugwuto Nsude community where there is a cluster of CIGs which are into piggery, poultry and fishery, the President of Ugwuto Nsunde Livestock I, Dr. Dennis Chidozie Udechukwu thanked the State Governor for giving them the “opportunity to benefit from the wonderful and tremendous life-sustaining project”.
Dr. Udechukwu explained that the Project had exposed them to training in different areas including environmental management and sustainability.
He disclosed that their pig farm which started with only three pigs had grown in leaps and bounds, adding that each of the 25 members of the group had also established their own pig farms from the knowledge acquired.
Dr. Udechikwu thanked the Community for erecting a structure which he described as “security tower” to provide accommodation for security men who have been employed by the community.
On his part, Mr. Ikechukwu Udeze of Gabion Box/Welding Workshop disclosed that with the knowledge gained from the training organized by NEWMAP and the grant provided, he had been able to set up a thriving workshop which is into fabrication of different kinds, adding that he had also trained five young men who had set up their own outfits.
Other CIGs locations visited were Ugwuto Nsude Decoration, Hair Dressing and Event Management Centre; the Widows Retail Shop; the Computer Training and Community ICT Centre which had successfully trained 30 persons in ICT.
The NEWMAP Team also visited Sacred Heart Seminary, Nsude; St. Cyprian’s Special Science School, Nsukka; St Cyprian’s Girls Secondary School, Nsukka and the Nigerian Correctional Centre (formerly Nigerian Prisons), Enugu all of which received the institutional cook stoves distributed by NEWMAP as part of its climate change agenda.
In their various responses, the Heads of the institutions commended the leadership of NEWMAP and Enugu State Governor for the provision of industrial cook stoves. They confirmed the effective
use of the stoves and the positive impact on the speed of meals preparation, reduction in the effect of smoke and other benefits. They appealed for the supply of more and bigger stoves.
The Data Validation Mission also visited on-going remediation works at Umuavulu Abor; Agbaja Ngwo and Enugu Ngwo gully sites. While the Team members expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at Agbaja Ngwo and Enugu Ngwo, they frowned at the work at Umuavulu Abor for its slow speed and poor quality of job done.
At the closing session, the Federal Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Mukhtar Yakubu Tanko commended Enugu NEWMAP for their efforts and urged them to immediately carry out the outstanding assignments and provide necessary data, especially in the areas of project and safety signs at sites; disaggregation of livelihood beneficiaries; photographs of completed and on-going jobs; accelerated sensitization activities and full activation of social media accounts.
On her part, the Federal Social Livelihood Specialist, Mrs. Ruth Peter-Mshelia spoke on the need for the Project Management Unit to maintain a register of staff hired by contractors at each site to ascertain compliance with the contract guidelines in terms of caliber of staff for the execution of the contract.
Mrs. Peter-Mshelia harped on the need to handle the Grievance Redress Mechanism of the Project with every seriousness and to also pay attention to the training of community associations.
In his remarks, the State Project Coordinator of Enugu NEWMAP, Barrister Vincent Obetta thanked the visiting Team for the technical support and assured of the implementation of the agreed actions at the Mission.
The Project Coordinator, who spoke on the place of the media in the successful implementation of NEWMAP, disclosed that a bill for the establishment of Enugu State Erosion and Watershed Management Agency had been passed by the State House of Assembly and waiting for assent by the Governor, stressing that it was part of the strategies for sustainability of the gains of NEWMAP.
The NEWMAP Data Validation Mission has rounded off its assignment in Enugu State.