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As part of efforts to address the challenges of erosion in Ogun State, the World Bank, in collaboration with the Federal Government is set to release Five Million Dollars, as take-off grant for the preparation and implementation of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in the State.

The World Bank Task Team Leader for NEWMAP, Dr. Amos Abu, disclosed this when he led a delegation of the bank and officials of NEWMAP on a visit to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, noted that the State was the latest to be factored into the project, as Ogun had met certain conditions which included transparency, accountability and commitment.

"So we are happy to announce that we will be releasing the sum of five million dollars to the State. This is against two million dollars which we normally give to States. We want to assure you that we will work with your team so that we can begin to see the results that NEWMAP is delivering", he assured

Dr. Abu said NEWMAP has started the procedure on behalf of the State for acceleration of the design process, just as the priority areas put forward by the State like the erosion sites at Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ilaro, Sango-Ita and Isheri-Olofin, had been noted.

He commended the Governor for assembling a formidable team with the common objective of delivering the dividends of democracy to the people, adding that NEWMAP had also come up with the initiative that could deliver alternative means of livelihood, to facilitate environmental sustainability and immediate job creation to the people.

Responding, Governor Abiodun, expressed happiness with the incorporation of the State into the project, intimating that his administration had held series of discussions with the bank, on how it would assist the State to tackle erosion in some parts of the State.

"We have been engaging the world Bank before I assumed office and raised this issue with NEWMAP, knowing that we were practically late and with the kind of ecological challenge we have in the State, I must appreciate the level of cooperation that allows us to be a participant in NEWMAP.

"I want to also say that the level of commitment that you have seen from our team is not an accident, it is deliberate. We all have a vision that we keyed into and the vision is to be focused and ensure qualitative administration, characterised by good government. Whatever we need to do to facilitate this project will be done, as our government will be accountable and transparent", he assured.

Speaking in an interview, the National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Salisu Dahiru, noted that the fund to be released was meant for preparation of activities, to ensure all identified sites were quickly attended to, commending the zeal with which the State was willing to tackle erosion with every support available.

Dahiru added that no fund was pre-allocated to any member State, but released after the designs were ready and the cost properly investigated, saying, "the way NEWMAP is designed, no fund is pre allocated to any State; it is demand driven, if designs are ready for five sites and the cost is done, whatever amount is required for them to be fully implemented is what will be allocated”.

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