FG approves N16 billion to tackle gully erosion

CHUKS OYEMA-AZIKEN writes that the federal government is taking measures to stem gully erosion caused by climate change and mismanagement of the environment.

Pastor (Mrs) Yemi Obanure, Proprietress, New Hope International School, Kuje, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) cannot be glad enough for the recent federal government intervention that has saved her huge investment.

The Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God who invested heavily in the school project is among the several residents of Kuchiyako 1, District, New Hope Avenue, Kuje Area Council who in the past suffered from the gully erosion that devastated the area.

At the handing over and commissioning of the intervention project executed by the Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation recently, they lamented how the flooding and erosion hindered their movements especially when it rains and the destruction to properties.

The residents said that property worth millions of naira have been washed away in the past. They said the onset of the rainy season was a nightmare to them until government came to their aid.

Kuchiyako 1 is not the only area in the FCT and across the country requiring urgent intervention due to human activities affecting the environment.

Nigeria is not immune to the adverse effects of climate change, which causes more intense downpours. It is aggravating erosion by adding to other factors destabilising soils including deforestation, unsustainable farming, mining of sand for brick-making, road construction and poorly designed drains.

The results is loss of fertile soil, which reduces agricultural productivity and therefore threatens the food supply of the country.
In the southern part of Nigeria, gully erosion has become one of the worst environmental disasters that many towns and villages especially in the Southeast. This region has, thus, become most hazardous for human habitation socioeconomy. Hundreds of people are directly and negatively-affected every year and have to be re-located to higher grounds from time to time. Large areas of agricultural lands are becoming unsuitable for cultivation as erosion destroys farmlands and lowers agricultural productivity.

Northern Nigeria is not spared by desert encroachment and resulting gully erosion. Many people in villages across the states are losing their lands and access roads.

The recent announcement by the Federal Executive Council that N16 billion has been approved for erosion control in 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, therefore becomes a welcome development.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known when he briefed State House Correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

The presidential aide listed the benefitting states to include Abia, Imo, Ogun, Osun, Cross River, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Jigawa, Katsina, Kwara, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Adesina said: “The Ecological Fund projects for the third and fourth quarters of last year were approved. They are soil and pollution control intervention projects.

The projects that were approved for erosion flood control are bridge reconstruction and road improvement at Umonyi-Nkpa communities of Bende Local Government Area of Abia and Gully erosion control works at Umukoro lower Okata community in Ihite Ogoma Local Government Area of Imo.

Others are Imaluomi erosion control project phase II, Ogun State; afforestation combating land degradation road improvement measures in Osun State and erosion control at Calabar Free Trade Zone in Cross River.

“Erosion and Road improvement works at Yelwa Private School and Police Station Road, Yola, Adamawa; ecological problems at Federal College of Education (Technical) Gombe; flood and erosion menace affecting community and environs in Lau Local Government Area phase II in Taraba.

“Others are erosion and flood control at Birnin Kudu-Kafingana, Tsamiya Local Government in Jigawa; flood erosion control works from Kano road to main water channel in Daura, Katsina State, phase II; Asa river erosion and flood control project at Ilorin in Kwara.

“Erosion flood control and environmental degradation at Agai and Lapai communities in Niger State and finally, soil erosion, river channelization and slope protection within Maitama District, phase III FCT, in Abuja.”

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