90% of Nigerian gullies caused by road construction

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Over 90 per cent of gully erosions in Nigeria are caused by poor termination of drains during road construction activities, the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has said.

Salisu Dahiru, National Coordinator of NEWMAP, disclosed this on the sideline of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), on Thursday in New Delhi, India.

A lot of studies, we conducted, indicated that over 90 per cent of the gullies were as a result of poorly terminated drains during road construction activities.

“This is coupled with the fact that the soil in the South East, where these gullies are common, is soft, loose and has already lost its vegetation cover.

“So, when heavy rain falls directly on a loose bare soil, the force and volume of the water end up hitting and eroding the soil little by little until it becomes deep and wide gully,’’ Dahiru said.

According to him, gully formation and gully development are the most extreme types of land degradation in Nigeria.

He blamed ministries of works at the three tiers of government for lack of thorough supervision.

The responsibility is on the Ministry of Works, not on the contractor, to make sure that contractors carry out road construction projects in accordance with design specification.

“That is why we are putting the responsibility of ensuring that these drains are well terminated on the relevant government agency that is awarding and supervising the project.’’

Over 8,000 delegates, including UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Muhammed, UNCCD Executive-Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, ministers and heads of UN agencies are attending the Conference, whose theme is “Investing in Restoration to Unlock Opportunities”.

COP14, which ends Friday, is expected to adopt over 30 decisions and a few country-led initiatives on the actions governments will take to reverse land degradation, especially over the next two years and beyond.