The Edo state government yesterday said it would need more than N1.5 trillion to effectively address the menace of gully erosion in the state.
The state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Clem Agba disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin.
He said that over 100 gully erosion sites have been identified across the state, noting that some had caused damages to lives and properties.
Agba added that gully erosion was threatening more lives and properties in the state.
He cited gully erosion areas in Auchi including Queen Ede, Warranke, Ewu, Emu Ekenwan, UNIBEN, Edo College and Ibore as the worst.
The commissioner said that the problem had gone beyond the capacity of the state to contain in view of the huge fund required to tackle the menace.
“We have never pretended that we could deal with the problem of Auchi gully erosion and others.
“Since the beginning of this regime, we had made it very clear that Auchi site just like several others is beyond us.
“The present administration showed a lot of interest and met with the late former President Musa Yar’adua and prevailed on him to get the state involved in the Newmap project.
“The Newmap project was initially covering the Eastern states of Nigeria, and in the last two years, Edo has been participating actively in the project,’’ he stressed.
He noted that the state, in collaboration with the Federal Government and the World Bank were working to address Queen Ede and Ekenwan gully sites under the Newmap project.
“I am proud to say that, even though we are like the last state to join, we are the first state to award a contract for gully erosion.
“Only last month, we awarded the contract for the Ekenwan West moat gully erosion in Benin City.
“Just last month, we got approval from the World Bank again, that our design for Auchi is bankable now with minor adjustment.
“They said we can proceed with the terms of reference for the resettlement action plan and the ESM which are going on as it were.
“The next stage is to advertise and call for tender for the project.’’
He assured that the reclamation project would be awarded to “a very competent contractor’’.
“This is because Auchi gully now has eight fingers and it is the biggest gully erosion site in the state,” he stated.
He noted that the queen Ede site is also receiving prompt attention from the bank.
“In all of this, the state will be making 12.9 per cent contribution to the total contract sum; the federal government also has its contribution.
On the Ekenwan West project awarded at the cost of N346m, the commissioner said the government had to borrow to ensure its execution.