Posted by News Express | 5 September 2014 | 3,130 times
Former Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, has hailed immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, saying that he was instrumental to the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, under which the World Bank is financing the control and management of erosion in in selected states.
Speaking yesterday during the official launch of the project at the Transcorps Hilton, Abuja, Odey recalled how Peter Obi almost single-handedly pushed for the project even when his colleagues were lukewarm about it. He called on communities to key into the project.
Speaking at the event, World Bank Country Director, Marie Francois Marie-Nelly, emphasised the need to seek a lasting solution to the menace of erosion among the participating states of Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Edo and Cross Rivers states. She called for ownership and domestication of the project and commended those implementing it for their innovative approach that emphasises both reclaimation and control.
“I have visited Edo and Anambra under Peter Obi and I was pleased with his commitment, which he demonstrated by being the first to pay the state’s counterpart funds of N500 million for the project. Ebonyi, Cross River and Imo State have also paid theirs,” Marie-Nelly said.
Expressing happiness over the project, the current Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, said that erosion had done havoc to the participating states, depriving their people of enough land for farming and other engagements. She reiterated the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan to erosion control in the East and the war against desertation in the North.
In his remarks, the Peter Obi, who chaired the project lunch and was accompanied by his former Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Mike Egbebike, and that of Budget, Prof. Chinyere Okunna, thanked all those who made it possible. Attributing its success to the collective efforts of the South-East Governors when he was the Chairman of their Forum, Obi thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for being the major protagonist of the project.
He said: “When I was the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, we met President Yar’Adua and appealed that the South-East be declared an Erosion Disaster Zone. He set up a committee headed by his then Vice, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan. John Odey also played key role. When the committee presented its report, Dr. Goodluck assured us he would see that it was implemented. When he now became the President, we appealed to him to carry out what was of important to him – the implementation of the report. I am happy the report is being implemented and I thank the current Minister of Environment for her support.”
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, was represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, and the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Evaristus Ubah. The governors of other participating states also sent representatives.
•Photo shows Peter Obi.
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