Edo NEWMAP Tasks Iguosa Community residents on vegetation cover around Gully Site
By Eseosa Okhemuokho
The devastating effects of flooding have been overwhelming time and again and cannot be over-emphasized in view of its negative impact on the human ecosystem.
Despite the repeated cautions and admonitions on why and how to avoid flooding, many societies have continued to suffer the menace of flooding annually, and ironically believing that there is little or nothing they can do to avert the challenges.
While it requires the concerted efforts of everybody, some people think that any solution at all can only be provided through the sole intervention of the government.
It is worthy of note that individuals too can contribute their quota to check flood issues as well as ensure that the actions on their environment will ultimately preserve the flood projects carried out by the government, as this will surely guarantee its sustainability.
One major way this can be done is through vegetation. Vegetation has to do with the covering of the ground with different plant species which could be trees, grasses and several others.
The role of vegetation in addressing floods has a lot of benefits as it helps to prevent soil erosion by providing protective cover on the land through slowing down the flow of water, thereby allowing the rain to soak into the ground.
The Project Coordinator, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) Dr. Tom Obaseki, emphasized the culture of cultivating vegetation on bare land in order to curtail the incidences of erosion during the Close-out Engagement with residents of Iguosa Community in Edo South Senatorial District.
While assessing the areas around the gully site, it was observed that certain portions of the land there were bare, with no vegetation. The Project Coordinator stressed the need for a proper vegetation culture to be imbibed by the people of Iguosa community. “Everywhere around that gully is supposed to be a fallow area, no activity, otherwise the whole problem will come back,” he declared.
He said: “You must make sure there is 100% vegetation on any open land, as much as possible; you should make sure there is no open earth; it should be grassed; this is the least you can do to secure the work done.”
He also added that areas around the site should be blocked permanently to prevent access to the gully site. In his words “there should be no activity; it should be left totally fallow, with time, you will even see trees growing inside but nothing will happen.”
While addressing members of Iguosa Community during a town hall meeting, Tom Obaseki recalled the problem of the devastating gully at Iguosa Housing Estate, stating that the gully had so ravaged the environment, taking almost everything on its way, including a furniture factory.
Owing to this, the Edo State Government swung into action for an emergency intervention to be carried out by the World Bank.
According to him, “This project happens to be one of the fastest due to the importance attached to it by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.”
He further appealed that deliberate efforts in preserving and sustaining the project should be made considering the huge funds which have been channeled into it by the State Government.
Similarly, Mrs. Esther Okundia, the Environmental Officer for NEWMAP, educated the people on actions that must be adopted in order to sustain the work done.
She charged them to take ownership by organizing Community Engagement Sessions to encourage vegetation and to discourage bush burning and indiscriminate dumping of waste.
She added that a team was being set up known as “Operation Show your Receipt for Waste Disposal”, cautioning that those who pay their waste disposal fee and whose waste managers do not come to pick up their waste, should call the Customer Care of Waste Management Board on 08109670790, 08109670791, while pictures of waste should be sent to WhatsApp number: 07014674731.