Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, has inaugurated a five-man steering committee for the Abia -Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, to address erosion menace and other forms of environmental degradation in the state.
Governor Orji while inaugurating the committee at the Exco Chamber, Government House, Umuahia, said the committee would collaborate with the federal government and international agencies in handling erosion intervention programmes in the state.
According to him, the Abia -Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project is a tripartite arrangement between federal, state governments and international agencies designed to tackle erosion menace and its devastating effects on the environment.
He said the committee would among other things ensure that erosion intervention projects meant for the state were properly executed to tackle erosion problems and urged members of the committee to exhibit diligence and prudence in the discharge of their duty.
Members of the committee, according to the governor, include the commissioner for environment who would serve as chairman, commissioners for Works, Finance, Urban Renewal and the Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency. He said that their selection was based on their individual antecedents.
He listed some of the foreign collaborating partners to include the International Development Association and the Global Environmental Facilities and other world bodies.
The governor who noted that erosion is a major environmental problem in many communities in Abia, said the affected communities are found in Isuikwuato, Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Bende, Aba North and other local government areas of the state.
He said that critical infrastructural facilities such as roads, rail tracks, schools, office blocks among others have fallen victims to erosion menace, adding that houses and vast arable lands have also been lost to erosion.
The Chairman of the committee and Commissioner for Environment, Chief Chinwe Nwanganga, expressed the determination of the members to carry out the assignment in the overall interest of the state.
Dr. Nwanganga said five sites had been identified while approval had been given for work to commence on one of them, pointing out that three other sites would receive approval.
Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu, Edo and Cross River states are participating in the project.