Funding challenges hit NEWMAP erosion project in Anambra

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The ongoing intervention work at the Alex Ekwueme erosion site which threatened the Federal High Court Complex and other public and private buildings in Awka may suffer setback for lack of funding.

The Nigerian Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) jointly funded by the World Bank and Anambra government awarded the contract to check erosion menace in the area.

The Gully Rapid Erosion Action and Slope Stabilisation (GRASS) intervention was commenced in October 2018 by IDC Construction Company Ltd.

The Mr Zubi, an official of the company and Site Manager of the project told newsmen on Tuesday that the project had progressed steadily since they were mobilised to site and had reached 80 per cent completion stage.

Zubi expressed worry that the ensuing rain and lack of funds were posing danger to the successful completion of civil works at the site.

He said that the company would be leaving site by the end of March if the project sponsors did not make money available to enable the company complete the job.

The engineer said that the topography of the site was so precarious that if not properly managed erosion from the coming rainy season may wash off all that he been achieved.

“We will leave here at the end of this month, we will leave this work and erosion will take it again if don’t complete it.

“If the World Bank approves money to allow us to continue and prevent water from moving on the left and right hand sides, it be disaster again.

“Look at the back-fillings, erosion is already eating them up because of the last rains, NEWMAP said there is no money for it.

“When it rains, this place is like river because this is about the lowest points in Awka so runoff water from all over Awka converge here, the erosion here is so much.

“If it rains for 30 minutes, water will run here for three hours, very speedy and strongly.

“When the rainy season comes, it will take all these buildings, they are not saved yet, go to NEWMAP they will tell you more, they are trying but World Bank is not agreeing with them,” he said.

Mr Youssef Zghaib, the Project Manager of the site confirmed that the company would be wounding down operation at the end of the month if money was not released.

Zghaib said that the company had already incurred damage of about N25million due to erosion activity on the site.

“The rain is already doing damage to the project here but it is still our responsibility, but in 15 days time, we will hand over this site and it will not be our responsibility any more.

“Maybe His Excellency will put pressure on World Bank to provide more money, I don’t know.

“In the recent rains, we lost not less than N25 million but we are bearing the cost because we have not handed over,” he said.

Mr Mike Ivenso, the Project Coordinator of NEWMAP said he was not aware that the contractor was leaving the site.

Ivenso said that the contract had tenor of one year and would not react to the threat of demobilising by the company officials.

He said that the damage from erosion was expected whenever it rained.

“The contract is a one year contract, I don’t know about anybody demobilising from site.

“I cannot corroborate what I don’t know, the project is moving on fine and it has reached about 80 per cent,” he said.