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The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has handed over six completed erosion sites to the Cross River State Government on behalf of beneficiary communities.
Cross River State’s Commissioner for International Development, Dr. Inyang Asibong, handed over the sites to Mr. Timothy Akwaji, Head of State Civil Service, midweek in the capital of Calabar. ‘State.
Asibong, also acting project coordinator of NEWMAP in the state, said NEWMAP was started to reduce vulnerability to soil erosion in the targeted sub-watershed.
The completed sites that have been handed over to the state government are Nyagasang, Ikot Anwatim, Ikot Ekpo, Atakpa, Lemna and Federal Agriculture.
The commissioner said before NEWMAP’s intervention that the erosion had caused devastation and damage to the affected communities.
She said the Cross River State Government and NEWMAP seek to achieve sustainable land management by promoting innovative erosion techniques given the devastating effects of erosion sites.
“The project was not only launched in the sites, we conducted several stakeholder engagements with different groups including men, women and youth with the aim of involving them in the implementation of the project.
“The project team has identified the people affected by the project: these are the people affected during the civil intervention on the gully sites.
“Compensation was paid following the investigation of their property to enable them to find alternative accommodation.
“The project provided assistance to community members whose sources of income were also affected by training them in alternative sources of livelihood skills,” she said.
Asibong said grants have also been given to members of affected communities to start certain businesses such as poultry, fish farming, agriculture, tailoring and shoemaking.
“Having successfully completed the work on all six sites, it is imperative for NEWMAP to hand over the sites to the relevant stakeholders/end users for maintenance and sustainability,” she said.
Taking the floor, the Head of State Civil Service, Akwaji, thanked the World Bank for providing the funds to the state government for the intervention.
He said the release of the matching fund was also an indication of the government’s commitment to improving the lot of the people.
Awaji urged beneficiary community members to make good use of the projects by avoiding dumping of waste along the drainage system and unnecessary excavation of soil.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiary communities, Dr. Francis Obo thanked NEWMAP and the Cross River government for the success of the projects.

Melvin B. Baillie