Obaseki launches Edo FEWMA, recommits to environmental sustainability

19 Jan 2023

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Caption: L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Edo State Flood, Erosion, and Watershed Management Agency (Edo FEWMA), Dr. Tom Obaseki; Otaru of Auchi Kingdom, Alhaji Aliru Momoh Ikelebe III, and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, at the launching of Edo FEWMA, at the Government House, in Benin City, on Friday, January 20, 2023.

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, launched the Edo State Flood, Erosion, and Watershed Management Agency (Edo FEWMA), with a pledge to sustain efforts by his government at ensuring environmental sustainability and achieving a circular economy.

The Edo FEWMA is a new agency established by the state government to sustain the gains recorded in erosion control and flood management started under the World Bank-assisted Edo State Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (Edo NEWMAP).

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Addressing guests at the event held at the Government House, Benin City with the theme, “Metamorphosis from Edo NEWMAP to Edo FEWMA: Enhancing Landscape and Restoring Livelihoods,” Obaseki said his government remains committed to environmental sustainability and land management.

Guests at the event include the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh, Ikelebe III; Onogie of Ugboha, His Royal Highness, Stephen Odigie Ukato; the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, and the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki.

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Governor Godwin Obaseki, as part of the launch, unveiled the state’s new engineering design capabilities to accelerate the process of interventions in flood and erosion as well as PikAmSel, an App developed to facilitate the government’s efforts at addressing the menace of plastic and aluminum can wastes, which pose serious floods and drainage problems and constitute an immense threat to the functionality of stormwater infrastructure, moats, and other drainage systems in the state.

The governor noted that going forward, any agency intending to build roads in the state must first register its design with the Edo FEWMA to ensure proper engineering design and erosion control mechanisms.

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Stating that most of the gullies and floods experienced over time in Edo State are man-made, ranging from indiscriminate deforestation, improper land management, and poor designs for road constructions, the governor reassured that all necessary measures are being put in place to prevent gullies and erosions in the State.

He said, “The cases that we are dealing with are man-made problems. Over the years due to neglect of the environment, we now witness challenges as never before seen like gully erosion and flooding.

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“Contractors now build roads without good engineering designs to control erosion. Nobody cares about land management. People are building indiscriminately, obstructing the free flow of water, and causing erosion.

“Over the last 10 years, we have spent over 150 million dollars trying to repair what we have damaged by ourselves.  No agency, whether federal, or NDDC, will undertake any project without coming to register with the Edo FEWMA as they must make available the engineering plan, erosion control plans, and the like because they are creating more troubles for us."

The Chief Executive Officer of Edo FEWMA, Dr. Tom Obaseki noted, “Edo State was the only state that triggered the effectiveness of NEWMAP. A total of 23 states participated in NEWMAP in the last 10 years and in all of these, Edo State did not only come first in the achievements of the projects, but while it was expected for the states to have contributed 4.2 percent, Edo state contributed 17 percent of the overall success of NEWMAP in Nigeria.”

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Other guests at the event include the Edo State Head of service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq.; the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Osasere Evbuomwan; Commissioner for Water Resources, Moses Agbukor; Chief Imam, Sheik Abdul-Fatai Enabulele.

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Also in attendance are Commissioner for Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Dr. Bartholomew Brai; Commissioner for Public Security and Safety, Omololu Ojehomo and General Manager, Edo Waste Management Board, Mr. Charles Omorogbe, among others.