By Nosakhare Agbonigiarhuoyi
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, January 20, 2023, launched the Edo Flood, Erosion, and Watershed Management Agency (Edo FEWMA), at the State’s Government House, Benin City.
According to the Governor, Edo FEWMA was set up to sustain the gains recorded by his administration through the Edo State Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (Edo NEWMAP), which came to a close in mid-2022 after a ten-year impactful period in the State.
In his remarks, he pointed out that the environmental challenges particularly gully erosion and massive floods, experienced in the State are due to negligence and lack of care for the environment.
He said: “Over the last 10 years, we have spent over 150 million dollars trying to repair what we have damaged ourselves.
“As a government and with FEWMA, we will insist going forward, no agency, not federal, not state, not international, not local will undertake a project without coming to register them with FEWMA.
“So we are sending out a note to federal agencies, Niger Delta Delta Commission (NDDC), we will not allow them to work in Edo if they don’t share their plans with us, particularly their erosion control plans; because they are giving us more trouble for our environments than benefits.”
Consequently, Mr Obaseki appreciated the management of NEWMAP, headed by its Coordinator, Dr. Tom Obaseki, for its tremendous impact on the State; not just in the area of restoring the environment but also in restoring livelihoods through empowerment programs.
Reiterating his priority to clean and green the State this year, the governor promised to set up a committee to this effect which he will head.
He said: “I’m setting up a very high-powered committee, which I will chair. I will have traditional rulers. I will have eminent Edo people.
“From the end of this month, our sole mandate will be to clean and green our state. We will come up with very strict regulations, and I’m sure that our people will cooperate.”
Furthermore, Mr. Godwin Obaseki said that the reason why the state government can’t build many roads is because of the indiscriminate sale of lands without planning; thus, making it difficult to create proper drainage systems for roads.
“So we are insisting, before communities sell land, they must register the land, they must register the plan, they must register the layout.
“In many communities today, they sell everything, including the road. Land management is something that we must take very seriously.
“If we don’t start approaching and addressing this issue today, it is only going to get worse in the future”, Obaseki said
The Governor also assured the Edo people of the sustainability of his administration’s achievements.
“I want to thank you and tell you that you shouldn’t be worried. What we are doing is making sure we put in place the institutions.
“Whether Obaseki is here or not, many of the things we have started will continue”, he assured.
Present at the event were government functionaries, traditional rulers, Heads of academic institutions, amongst others.