By Chris Chimezie
Disturbed by the perennial challenge posed by sea incursion in some coastal communities in Ondo State, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, led a team on a courtesy call to the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud in Abuja.
The visit, it was learnt, was to seek for support towards finding a lasting solution to the erosion menace that has ravaged some parts of the state, thereby rendering residents of the affected areas homeless.
The Governor highlighted the dangers gully erosion pose to the people of the state and stressed the need for speedy approval of funds to effectively tackle the challenge.
He indicated interest in the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) assisted by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank with total financing of about $1 Billions.
Consultants to the Ondo State Government on Multilateral Relations and Investments, SAO Capital, led by Ayo Sotinrin and Tope Runsewe, appealed to the World Bank to fast-track the participation of Nigeria in the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme (WACA).
The duo maintained that the gesture would assist the eight littoral states on the West African Coast to help save the social and economic assets of coastal region.
“West Africa’s coastal areas are home to about one-third of the region’s people and the population is growing four percent each year.
“A very large proportion of about 42 percent of West Africa’s GDP is generated from its coastal areas and more than 1.6 million tons of fish are legally caught in West African waters each year with an estimated wholesale value of US$2.5 billion”, they stated.
They added that the coast hosts major cities, ports, agro-industries, fisheries, offshore petroleum exploration and production which contribute in no small measure to the economy of the nation.
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