The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the N105.4bn Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project.
The project was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, in Abuja.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the inauguration, the National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Mr. Chikelu Nwune, said the operation of the project was based on an eight-year strategic investment loan of $508.59m.
Nwune said, “This consists of $500m International Development Association loan blended with the Global Environment Facility trust fund and the Special Climate Change Fund grants, totalling $8.59m.
“The government’s contribution will amount to approximately $150m. This amount comprises a federal cash contribution of $70m and an in-kind contribution of $24m for staff, office costs and payment of cash compensation for resettled people.
“Also, it consists of an in-kind contribution by each state of approximately $8m and for each of the seven states, a total of $56m will be realised for staff and office costs and pre-feasibility designs of intervention sites.”
He added that the NEWMAP would primarily support state-led interventions to prevent and reverse land degradation.
Nwune said the project’s initial focus would be on gully erosion sites that threatened infrastructure and livelihoods in Abia, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo states.
“The NEWMAP will take an integrated catchment management approach to land degradation that will be informed by lessons learned on the interlinked challenges of poverty, ecosystem services, climate change, disaster risk management, biodiversity, institutional performance and governance,” he added.
Earlier in her remarks before inaugurating the project, the minister stated that the NEWMAP was very crucial as the environmental situation in the South-East was “pathetic.”
Mallam said, “The level of land degradation caused by erosion in the region is alarming.”