The Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has said gully erosion is threatening the Federal High Court, a hotel, federal secretariat, access roads and other property at the Alex Ekwueme erosion site in Awka, Anambra State.
NEWMAP Project Coordinator in Anambra, Mike Ivenso, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka, yesterday, that the agency has held a pre-bid meeting with some potential contractors for control works.
He said Governor Willie Obiano had earlier declared emergency on the Alex Ekwueme gully erosion site and that said the bidding process was “abridged,” in the light of the urgency of the project and the need to rescue the area expeditiously.
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The World Bank sponsored-NEWMAP project coordinator said the prospective contractors are expected to respond on or before October 4, two weeks after the process commenced; instead of the normal eight weeks.
Ivenso said the contract would be for a period of 12 months but expressed hope that it would be delivered by March 2019.
“We have met with potential bidders, six of them, and they have visited the site to take an assessment of what to do to enable them come up with responsive bids which we can evaluate.
“ Governor Willie Obiano has declared an emergency on the Alex Ekwueme erosion site and has mandated NEWMAP and all relevant agencies to fast track the intervention works here.
“A lot of landslide has occurred here and the erosion is fast encroaching into the Federal High Court and the governor has directed that we expedite control intervention works here.
“This vicinity houses significant amount of federal, state and private property, the area is called Central Business District, the Federal High Court is not the only threatened structure.
“We have a five-star hotel, the state High Court is not far from here, there is the upcoming federal secretariat, access roads to the other parts of the district are all in severe danger and that was what informed the declaration of emergency in this area. We intend to rescue the property; with a combination of civil works and bio-remediation activities,” he said.
Ivenso said Anambra government has already spent about N22 million on the preliminaries of the project as a demonstration of its commitment to the speedy execution of the project.
“Already, Anambra government has spent about N22 million on Environmental Impact Assessment and Resettlement Action Plan; these are the two major things that must be done before any World Bank intervention works can commence; as well as the engineering design.
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“The administration judge of this court has expressed grave fears about the emerging erosion, the judges complex have been vacated because of the advancing landslide, our mandate is for a speedy and rapid response, so, we expect that it will be remedied by March next year.
In his contribution, Commissioner for Environment in Anambra, Mike Okonkwo said Obiano was very concerned about the erosion challenge, the safety of Anambra people and their property.
“We have had ministers and heads of agencies visit the area, everybody knows that it is a very dangerous environmental challenge, that is why the bidding process is abridged. We must pay attention to every detail in the bid, so that we don’t get any objection…”