Traditional ruler urges FG to revisit dredging of Niger, Benue rivers
A traditional ruler in Kogi, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isa-Koto has urged the Federal Government to revisit the issue of dredging the River Niger and Benue, to address perennial flooding of coastal communities.
Isa-Koto, who is the Ohimege-Igu of Koton-Karfe, made the call when the Governing Council of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) paid him a visit in Koton-Karfe.
The traditional ruler said perennial flooding of riverine areas has affected the economy and sources of livelihood of the communities.
He said that Koton-Karfe is the confluence where the two Rivers meet adding that his people were on the banks of both Rivers Niger and Benue.
“So, we are always at the receiving of flooding any time the rivers overflow their banks. As we speak, the correctional center has had to relocate because of flooding.
“Predominantly, we are farmers and fishermen and by virtue of that, when the rivers overflow their banks, our sources of livelihood are affected. We can no longer fish, we can no longer farm.
“Our appeal to your commission and indeed, the Federal Government is to revisit the issue of dredging the Rivers Niger and Benue. If these two rivers are dredged, the problem of flooding in our area will be 50 percent solved,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Joseph Ityav, Chairman, Governing Council of the HYPADEC said the visit was in continuation of the commission’s familiarisation tour of the six-member states of the commission.
He said the bill establishing HYPADEC was signed into law in 2010 with Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, and Niger as members, adding that the law was amended in 2013 to include Benue and Plateau.
”The commission took off this year in March and our key function is to formulate policies and guidelines for the development of hydroelectric power producing areas,” he said.
Ityav said the commission was also saddled with the responsibility of setting up implementable programs and projects for the development of the hydroelectric power producing areas.
He said while the commission is out to improve the living standard of communities where hydroelectric power dams were located, HYPADEC also tackled ecological menace and challenges arising from the overflow of hydroelectric power dams.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Dec. 1, 2020, the Federal Government said it has begun plans to dredge Rivers Niger and Benue in order to enhance water transportation and to tackle the unending devastating disaster caused by flood in most parts of the country amounting to lost of lives and property.
Minister of Walter Resources Suleiman Adamu, said that work has begun on the master plan scheme for the dredging of Rivers Niger and Benue.
Adamu explained that the ministry decided to develop the master plan for both Rivers due to the nature of the project and fear of abandonment of projects which characterise public works in Nigeria.