The Oasis Reporters
August 10, 2021
The Edo State-Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project has condemned a viral video of a protest by some persons purported to be living around the project catchment area of Gapiona, noting that claims in the said video were falsely represented.
Communication Officer, Edo NEWMAP, Ivy Adodo, in a statement, noted that “the viral video was recorded last year and was used as a political tool/campaign against the Government at the peak of the governorship election of 2020 by the proponents of the said video sometime in June 2020.”
According to Adodo, “While most of the claims in the said video were falsely represented, as at today every person whose property has been affected has been fully paid by the Government of Edo State that is responsible for the payment of compensation and not the World Bank as also erroneously conveyed by the proponent of the video.
“The project is by the Edo State Government and not a World Bank project as erroneously conveyed in the said video. Furthermore, the Gapiona flood Project was initiated at the instance of the State Government and not the other way.
“The Gapiona erosion control project consists of various sub-catchments and communities in the catchment area including but not limited to Gapiona, Ruben Agho, Ebo, Ogumwenyin, Ugieokuin, and several other areas.”
The statement further reads: “The Proposed Pond 1 area of the current Gapiona flood alleviation project is the lowest point in the whole catchment and naturally the place for settlement of the whole flood within the area. Residents in Gapiona area have lived with the erosion problem for over 20 years, this has led to many residents fleeing their homes while a majority of the access roads linking the area have been rendered impassable.
“The intense flooding being experienced in the area in recent times is due to the impact of climate change resulting from high runoff and higher intensity of rainfall and the indiscriminate fencing and obstruction of waterways by residence.
“This very problem is the reason for the prioritization of this project by the state government and the reason for its intervention through Edo State NEWMAP.”
Noting the government’s commitment to tackle the problem of flooding in Edo communities and alleviate the sufferings of the people, Adodo stated: “It, therefore, may not be charitable if NEWMAP, an intervention project is now erroneously being held responsible for the flooding of homes within this area, which is a very unfortunate and regrettable event.
“The Engineering Design being implemented by the State Government as cleared was designed by the number 1 rated Engineering design firm in Africa, reviewed by the Federal Project Management Unit of NEWMAP, through a renowned Engineering design firm and finally cleared by a combined team of Engineers from the FAO and the World bank.
“The government is implementing a world class design through one of the best construction companies in Nigeria also approved by the World Bank.
“NEWMAP’s intervention in the area has brought succor to residents in the sections where work has been completed.
“Edo State NEWMAP has worked at 15 locations/sites and has successfully completed six other flood and gully erosion control projects (Edo College, Queen Ede, Ekehuan, all in Benin City; Oshiobugie in Auchi, Ibore and Ewu both in Esan Central LGA) in Edo state in line with best global practices and these communities are now better off.
“These are all there for verification. The completed work will be to the benefit of all residents in the catchment area in the long run”.
According to Edo NEWMAP, “It may interest you to note that there are 23 participating States in Nigeria and the last two evaluation and ratings of performance, Edo State came tops under the leadership of the Project Coordinator, Dr. Tom Obaseki.
“Trying to malign his professionalism and personality is an exercise in futility. While the project is concerned with the current challenges being faced by the residents, we want to assure that every step is being taken to accelerate the process of implementation. We appeal to residents, particularly those within the Pond1 area for their patience as the project which is in progress is in the advanced stages of completion”.