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Anambra Senator Pledges to Work with WIEF

 

Senator Annie Okonkwo

Senator Annie Okonkwo, who represents Anambra Central zone and is the incumbent Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology and Environment, has expressed his interest to work closely with WIEF toward addressing the complex environmental challenges facing his home state. This commitment was made known to the Executive Director of WIEF Nigeria, Dr. Odili Ojukwu, in Abuja on July 29, 2010 when the latter made a courtesy call at the senator's office in the company of the foundation's Director of Operations, Chief J.N.B. Ofojebe (Engineer).

Sen. Okonkwo showed great delight in WIEF's visit and activities and expressed interest in working with WIEF on the environmental challenges facing the southeast region. He further expressed willingness in assisting to attract support from some government agencies toward the activities of WIEF. The Vanguard newspapers recently reported that the senator was instrumental in making the Federal Govt. to earmark the sum of N10 billion for tackling erosion menace in Anambra state. The energetic legislator is also spearheading the establishment of a foundation whose focus shall be to address the widespread environmental decay and degradation evident in Anambra state, in particular and rest of Southeast geopolitical zone, in general.

Senator Okonkwo receives Certificate of Appreciation from Dr. Odili Ojukwu, Executive Director, WIEF Nigeria and Chief Ofojebe

 

 

 

 

The populace has come to associate the WIEF emblem with quality and commitment to wellbeing of the ordinary citizens within the foundation's target area and beyond. To many, WIEF symbolizes hope for a brighter and prosperous future, particularly at the grassroots where decay and degradation are most evident.

 

 

 

Dr. Odili Ojukwu presents WIEF logo-embossed polo shirt to Sen. Okonkwo.

The purpose for calling on Senator Okonkwo by the WIEF Executive Director was to intimate and familiarize the Anambra legislator with the foundation's programs and activities in the past few years and to ascertain ways and means of leveraging federal assistance in tackling future endeavors. It should be recalled that Sen. Okonkwo sent his personal assistant, Mr. Obi Okpala, to represent him during WIEF's inaugural seminar/workshop, officially opened by Governor Peter Obi, in Anambra state capital, Awka, on August 20, 2007. Speaking on behalf of his boss at that occasion, Mr. Okpala extolled the virtues of fostering close collaboration between Anambra state government in Awka and federal legislators and other officials based in Abuja for the benefit of the state. He also communicated Senator Okonkwo's willingness and readiness to collaborate with individuals, groups and communities in seeking practical and lasting solutions to the dual scourge of pollution and soil erosion which are devastating the living space of Ndi Anambra.

Dr. Ojukwu used his visit to update the Anambra senator about WIEF's soil and erosion studies as well as community-based seminar workshops which have already been conducted in Ideani, Uke, Igboukwu and Abagana in Anambra state as well as in Nkwerre in Imo state. Senator Okonkwo was also told about WIEF's oversight role in monitoring many public projects on environmental remediation in Anambra state, particularly those at Ekwulobia, Iyiagu-Awka, Uke junction and along the Otumoye-Nwangene drainage channel. He was further apprised of the WIEF plan to extend its services throughout all communities and urban centers within its target area as soon as adequate resources for the undertaking are mobilized.

Senator Okonkwo was specifically asked to sponsor soil erosion studies for his hometown, Ojoto, in Idemili South LGA. He was also asked to sponsor WIEF seminar/workshops for all the local government areas in his senatorial constituency in order to better prepare and empower his constituents to cope with the menace of soil erosion and flooding before the peak of this rainy season. The senator was awarded the WIEF Certificate of Appreciation "in recognition of his many valuable contributions in assuring a safe, clean and healthy living space for all Nigerians".

 

This rapidly expanding new gully at the Uke junction shall soon swallow major highways nearby 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New erosion gully is in Uke community in Idemili North LGA. This gully was started as a consequence of negligent act by an Anambra government road-building contractor, RCC. Senator Okonkwo's hometown, Ojoto, is next door to Uke.

 

 

 

 

WIEF is an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) registered in both the United States and Nigeria. Its vision and primary mission are to build the required alliances at the local, national and international levels in order to facilitate the mobilization of the human and material resources needed to arrest and reverse the current rapid rate of degradation and decay in our shared living space. WIEF's operational base is Nigeria. The foundation's key strategy is empowerment of communities throughout its target area to retake ownership of their living space. Community-based seminar/workshops have enabled WIEF team on the ground to ascertain and confirm the enthusiasm and willingness of the populace, particularly at grassroots level, to play a major role in redeeming our ancestral homeland from imminent total ruination by stopping and reversing the current trend.

 

 

 

 

In September 2006, a week-long torrential downpour resulted in a sudden expansion of an otherwise dormant gully at Umuchiana, Ekwulobia in Aguata LGA, Anambra state. The federal highway linking southern Anambra to northern Imo state and many commercial and residential houses were instantly swallowed by a wide gully head which was more than 100 feet deep

 

 

 

The traditional head of Umuchiana, Ekwulobia shows gully to visiting WIEF team and pressmen.

The WIEF Director of Operations, Chief J.N.B. Ofojebe, whose background includes more than three decades as professional engineer in Shell Nigeria and as President-General of Umuona town union in Aguata LGA, expressed joy to learn of the senator's desire to collaborate closely with WIEF. The experienced engineer and community leader affirmed that the WIEF Certificate of Appreciation was the most appropriate way for the foundation to commend and encourage the recipient, Senator Okonkwo, to work even harder in utilizing his position in the senate committee to leave long-lasting footprint and goodwill in his constituents' home turf. He pledged that WIEF shall fulfill its own tasks in order to streamline the anticipated collaboration with Senator Okonkwo as well as with all other levels of Nigerian government in order to expedite the implementation of practical solutions to the horrific environmental nightmare that confronts our people today.

 

 

 

 

The crucial natural drainage corridor, Otumoye Creek, has been turned into the most celebrated solid waste dump in Onitsha metropolis. Storm water carries this refuse into the River Niger on continuous basis.

 

 

This tributary of the River Niger at Onitsha is choked up by illegally dumped solid waste

 

 

 

WIEF's programs in Nigeria have been financed through the foundation's own resources and through external sponsorship. The soil erosion studies and seminar/workshops conducted in Uke, Idemili North LGA, Anambra and in Nkwerre, Imo State, for example, were sponsored by two US-based professional practitioners, Okey Ilonzo and Nze Gibson Chigbu, respectively. WIEF's technical, administrative and legal teams are propelled by the generous and selfless sacrifices of many stakeholders and supporters within and outside Nigeria.

Storm-water runoff from newly re-built Onitsha-Owerri federal highway opened up a brand new gully site in Ozubulu in early 2010

 

 

Related news articles:

Federal Government Releases N10 Billion to Fight Anambra Erosion - Senator Okonkwo

Ecological Disaster Foundation to Fight Erosion in Anambra  

 

 

Full text of WIEF POSITION & RECOMMENDATIONS ON UN HABITAT CITY STRUCTURE PLANS FOR ANAMBRA

 

 

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