No fewer than 25, 000 people affected by erosion and construction works undertaken by Nigerian Watershed and Erosion Management Project (NEWMAP) in Anambra have benefited been supported by the agency.
Mr Mike Ivenso, the Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Anambra office disclosed this after a visit of the Monitoring and Evaluation team on Data Validation Mission to some of the sites in the state on Tuesday.
Ivenso said the agency established in Anambra since 2013 has 13 active erosion sites across the state, adding that some of the sites had reached advanced stages of completion.
He said the agency was intervening on erosion menace in Anambra through direct erosion control and through restoration of livelihood of people that were ravaged by erosion in the three senatorial zones.
Ivenso said that the intervention tagged: Project Affected Persons (PAP) was to ensure that persons affected during construction works were adequately taken care of under the “Livelihood Support Programme”.
He said Omagba site in Onitsha, which was about 29 metres deep had almost led to the collapse of the Enugu/Onitsha expressway before the intervention.
“On the whole, we are intervening on 13 sites in Anambra, we have the first four initial sites tagged: `movers’, which include Omagba, Onitsha, which is about 95 per cent, remaining slope stabilisation and bioremediation components.
“Another is Abagana, which is today a huge testimony as the communities hitherto separated by the erosion have been reconnected, social lives have been resorted and people can now move freely, the project there is about 60 per cent completion because it was re-awarded.
“As at today, we have more than 25, 000 people and households that have so far benefited from NEWMAP livelihood support for Project Affected Persons, and these people who before our intervention were hopeless are now very happy,“ he said.
Mr Murkta Tanko, a monitoring and evaluation specialist at Abuja office of NEWMAP said, they were in the state to validate the reclamation work done and the impact the projects had had on the lives of the people.
“I must say there have been real tremendous works done with a view to ascertaining the impact on business of people in the affected areas.’’
Tanko said that they visited lives support ventures such as poultries, piggeries, fish ponds, snail farms, among others.
One of the likelihood support projects at Abagana
“We have seen for ourselves, we have spoken to the people and the beneficiaries have really attested to the fact that without NEWMAP intervention, their lives would have been in danger, we are satisfied with what has happened in Anambra and we appreciate the stakeholders,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries in Abagana, Chief Chukwuma Nzeako said the project had positive impact on the lives of the people since the site was given to NEWMAP contractor.
Nzeako said beside reconnecting Uruokpala, Umudunu and Adegbe villages, about 14 community interest groups comprising more than 10 persons had businesses established for them under livelihood support programme.
He said people got as much as N400,000 to start new businesses and that most of them were thankful to the organisation for their intervention.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other sites visited included Ama-Achalla and NEROS sites both in Awka South Local Government Area. (NAN)