By Jide Ajia
The Abia State Government has received $60 million, about N21 billion, for execution of a World Bank assisted Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) in the state.
However, the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, said that the prioritization of intervention areas and rural road links in Abia would be the focus of the projects funding.
Ikpeazu, who made the revelation in Umuahia at a one-day workshop for stakeholders organised by the state RAMP on Thursday where he was represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Obinna Oriaku, expressed the state satisfaction on the funding that made available for actualization of the project.
He hinted that the World Bank approved the facility for the construction of rural link roads across the state as an intervention for the development of Abia and urged the benefitting communities to cooperate with the contractors to ensure quick completion of the projects and not to demand marching ground from the contractors.
The Guild findings showed that marching ground is money demanded by community youths before allowing project development in their area.
Ikpeazu further announced that the state also received $56 million from the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), adding that already, some erosion sites had started receiving attention from the NEWMAP facility.
In his speech, the National Coordinator of RAMP, Ubandoma Ularamu, said that 500 kms length of roads linking many rural communities, would be constructed across the state out of the targetted 900 kms roads.
Ularamu said that the roads, which lead to markets, hospitals and cottage industries, were selected because of their economic importance and that a structure that incorporated the benefitting communities had been designed for the regular maintenance of the roads after their construction.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Ernest Onyeukwu, said that the workshop was organised to sensitise and mobilise all the stakeholders for a fruitfulness project execution and maintenance.
Onyeukwu, who commended RAMP and the state government for their initiative, appealed to the communities to make their contributions toward the realisation of the project.