As the rainy season becomes intense in Edo, the state government, in collaboration with the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), has revved up measures to avert flooding in the state, accelerating ongoing construction works on about 10 erosion and flood control projects in the three senatorial districts of the state.
The Project Coordinator of NEWMAP, Dr. Tom Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin-city, reaffirmed the federal and state governments’ commitment at mitigating the problems of flooding and gully erosion across various communities in the state.
Obaseki listed some of the ongoing projects to include Ogiso-Osunde flood control site; Edo College gully reclamation work; flood alleviation and protection construction work on Upper Adesuwa Road, Gapiona Street in GRA in Oredo Local Government Area (LGA) and in Urora community in Ikpoba-Okha LGA.
He noted that reclamation works at the Oshiobugie-Auchi; Queen Ede; Ekenwan and Ewu, and other areas of the state have been completed.
While responding to the alleged neglect and non-payment of compensation to some residents of Gapiona area in the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), the project coordinator said: “We have since commenced the payment of compensation to Project Affected Persons (PAPs) after painstakingly going through the established process.
We must say that there are few hiccups that caused delays in some areas, either arising from disputes over ownership of some property or lack of understanding by few persons of the operational guidelines of the project even after several enlightenment sessions. It is out of place for some group of persons to go to the media, peddling falsehood that we refused to pay them compensation.
“The action taken in the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) in all our sites, Gapiona inclusive, is in line with the World Bank guidelines of transparency and fair treatment to all parties. Payment of compensation is borne by the benefiting state government, and we can say with confidence that the Edo State Government is not defaulting in the payment of counterpart funds for the implementation of NEWMAP.”
Obaseki, who reinstated the government’s commitment to put an end to the problem of flooding in the state, said the Gapiona waterstorm project is the first solution to handle the stormwater issue in Benin-city.
He added: “The Gapiona stormwater project comprises six attenuation ponds. They are to control the speed of the water, and after the peak flow, the pond becomes empty again. This will help to take water to the Ogba River, which is the final drainage point for the project.
“The project spans about 13km of underground concrete drainage of various sizes; it ranges from 1.5m wide to as wide as 6m at the discharge point of the project.”