Friday, 3 February 2017

2017 budget: ASHA to provide for erosion control, frowns on forests encroachment

Hon. Ezeudu
By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The Anambra State House of Assembly has said it would make provisions in the 2017 Appropriation Bill for intervention works to be carried out on top erosion sites across the state.

Lawrence Ezeudu, the Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Beautification & Ecology disclosed this while his committee was questioning the state ministry of Environment, Beautification and Ecology on the modalities it adopted on appropriating for ten erosion sites out of over 1000 gullies threatening the state existence.

Ezeudu, who observed that gullies have environmentally degraded all parts of the state, and adversely affecting the socioeconomic lives of the people, human and natural resources, said that it constitute dangers to transportation and other means of livelihood.

He said the House would first embark on oversight functions of ongoing state’s and World Bank/Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in order to appropriate for those with overwhelming impact on the society.

While striking out some provisions in the budget estimate, the Committee Chairman and his colleagues reassured the ministry that the funds would be added to other programmes in the ministry begging for immediate attention.

That was even as he said they would review the activities of Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA), state forests, NEWMAP and other agencies, units and parastatals in the ministry in order to make them functional for overall good of the state.

Ezeudu, however, frowned on the allegations that the state owned forest, Akpaka, has been encroached upon and sold by unknown persons, saying that they would prosecute anybody or institution indicted on the allegation.

The lawmaker added that they would make provisions for recruitment of more forests guards across six state owned forests against the five currently employed for the job.

Responding, the state Commissioner for Environment, Beautification & Ecology, Romanus Ejikeme, flanked by some directors and units’ heads in the ministry, explained that N1.9 billion appropriated for the ministry would be utilised on solving ecological problems and beautification of the state.

Meanwhile, the committee has asked the commissioner, Directors of ASWAMA, NEWMAP and other unit heads of the ministry to repeat their budget defense next week (today, Monday 06 February, 2017. 



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