The Chief Executive officer, Edo State Flood Erosion and Watershed Management Agency, Dr. Tom Obaseki and the Chairman, Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission EDSOPADEC, Pastor Kennedy Osifo have called on Edo citizens and indigenes both home and abroad to support the investment drive of the Governor Godwin Obaseki led government in flood and erosion prevention , waste management and infrastructural development.
They made the appeal during the fifth session of the talk to the People Webinar series with the theme, “Intergovernmental Collaboration as a necessary condition for infrastructural development in Edo State organized by Edo Media Connect Forum in collaboration with the Edo state Ministry of Communication and Orientation at the weekend.
While chronicling the mandate of his agency, Dr. Tom Obaseki disclosed that under the NEWMAP project , the agency has developed and demonstrated new flood remediation techniques which commenced with the identification of fifteen intervention sites across the three senatorial districts of the state and the focus is on channeling water off infrastructures, land and property assets.
According to him, the agency also built on the storm water approach through the identification of several catchments like the Uwelu catchment and the development of these catchments in phases across 3 senatorial districts and so far this storm water approach has been successful in Ama, Emotan Estate and Ogiso areas.
“Liaison officers have been employed in every local government to detect and document flood prone areas in Edo state for prompt action by the agency and so far the officers have identified 202 flood prone areas.
“The agency’s project also extends to removal and disposal of plastics and other waste that militate against the effectiveness of inbuilt channels for floods and erosion control in Edo state. The publicity materials for public engagement were made available at this session.
“NEWMAP and the Edo state flood agency is leveraging its multi-disciplinary collaboration to invigorate the inter agency discussions and collaboration and these deliberations have identified the fragmented nature of land transactions as one of the factors militating against erosion and flood control in Edo and these discussions have necessitated the development of an improved four strategic pillars in its new road map for a re-invigorated agency
Dr. Tom Obaseki stated that Governor Obaseki is very serious about tackling the menace of flood and gulley erosion in the state, adding that the Upper Adesuwa area that was not passable for over thirty years, you can drive through today, at Ogiso area, the link road between Osunde street and Ikpoba slope by the prayer ground is now motor able.
“For the first time we are having a storm water solution to fully drain the Government Reservation Area, that was never there before and the storm water solution for Ambrose Ali University which has helped to preserve about three major structures that were about to be engulfed by gully erosion.
“These are in addition to what we have done at Eguosa Estate and Ogiso area. The governor is interested in solving these problems and he has demonstrated it and flooding will be a thing of the past,” he added.
The EDSOGPADEC Chairman, Pastor Osifo who re-echoed the developmental strides of the 14 years old Commission as an interventionists agency which has provided infrastructural intervention to the oil producing local government areas of Edo State which includes Ikpoba Okha, Ovia and Orhionmwon local government areas disclosed that the commission has designed 140 link roads across the three local governments awaiting the approval of His Excellency to kickstart.
He said the agency got a marching order from the governor to provide oversight of communities and report to the government cases where host communities suffer any detriments from action of oil companies and to this end the commission has been involved in the construction of roads, such as the 105 km Benin –Abraka road, 17 km Ajoki road to divert passing Koko to get to Edo communities, concrete jetty in Ologbo, provision of speed boats especially for Orhionmwon river to support transportation and security needs of the communities where the river overflowed its bank.
He further disclosed that compensation was paid in Abudu in cases of detriments to host communities, construction of Erediauwa road, completion of police stations at St. Saviour, Ogororio, Dumez, and Ogbine police station which is being renovated to improve security and safety in Ikpoba Okha, Ovia, Orhionmwon communities and the water ways.
According to him, the commission purchased facilities and equipment to improve security such as the acquisition of gun boats, procurement of speed boats, re-asphalting of 9.8 km University of Benin road, construction of magistrate courts in Udogbo and Okada communities, development and maintenance of NYSC Orientation camp in Edo state, development and redesigning of 37 health care centers and human capital development and training of 164 persons.
He said the governor has given the directive that all the health centre’s in the oil communities must be World Health Organization standard and he expressed optimism that when the projects are approved and completed the people would benefit immensely from good health care.
To ensure transparency of funds allocated to the commission, the EDSOGPADEC Chairman said there is effective control of funds appropriated to the commission which is a total of 40% from the 13% derivation funds that accrues to the state by ensuring transparent disbursement after approval by the governor of Edo State
“Detailed monthly report on expenditure to the governor of the state and efficient and effective deployment of funds for infrastructure and human capital development across the oil producing communities are made by the commission,” he added.
The Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Barr. Andrew Adaze Emwanta in his vote of thanks thanked God for making the event a success, the moderators Dr. Joseph Ohens, Anne Obozuwa and the two guests for their superlative impact they are making to Make Edo Great Again through their agencies.
“The chairman, Planning Committee, Dr. Ikpenmosa Uhumuavbi, the Special Adviser to the Governor on strategy for creating this platform to let Edo people know what the government is doing and particularly our Governor for creating the open government initiative that allow those of us in the communication sector to relate back what government is doing to Edo people. Sovereignty lies in the people and they deserve to know what government is doing.
“Our next institutional topic will revolve around the institutional reforms and I expect the whole lot that has happened in the transformation of the Civil Service will be one of those areas that will be discussed. We hope to be bringing up the Head of Service to tell us about the e-government platform.
“I want to thank all of us the participants, staff of Ministry of Communication, the Nigerian Observer and Edo Broadcasting Service for making the Webinar series a success.
In his brief remarks, Mr. Ehi Braimah thanked the governor for the able team he has put together in his cabinet and looking forward to the next Webinar session he noted that the civil service reform is a big deal where His Excellency has done a lot of work and he cannot wait for that day to let Edo people know what is happening in that sector.