…As River Basin Authority clears 58 km of waterways, to prevent flooding in Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa***
The Kogi State Government has declared two-day mourning as a mark of respect for the 23 victims of Wednesday’s tanker explosion in Felele, Lokoja.
This is contained in a statement signed by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo in Lokoja on Thursday.
Fanwo urged residents of the state to use the period for a sober reflection as well as pray for the victims and their relations, adding that Gov. Yahaya Bello was deeply touched by the incident.
He said that government action underscored the importance it placed on lives and property of residents.
”In this time of grief, we urge the people to be deep in sober reflection and stand together for one another to pull out of the agonising loss,” Fanwo said.
He urged road users to always act responsibly to avoid accidents while reaffirming government commitment towards the safety and well-being of the people.
Fanwo said the government will carry out full investigations into the accident to determine the immediate and remote causes.
”The Kogi government wishes to assure families that lost loved ones and those whose houses were affected of support at this trying moment.
“We also call on relevant federal agencies to provide relief materials to support what the state government shall be providing.
“Our hearts are with the affected families. May the souls of the departed rest in peace,” he said.
In another development, the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (HJRBDA), has de-silted 58 kilometres of its waterways to prevent flooding.
HJRBDA Managing Director, Dr Khalid Abdullahi, said this while speaking with newsmen on Thursday, in Kano.
Abdullahi said that the exercise was conducted on the main and irrigation canals of the waterways between Tiga Dam and Karfi Irrigation area, to clear weeds and blocked waterways to ease flow of water and prevent flooding.
“It is the biggest de-silting exercise conducted in the last 25-years, it will help control flooding in Bauchi, Kano and Jigawa.
“We plan to procure de-silting equipment to enhance weeds clearing. It is part of measures adopted to ensure easy passage of water in the river and canals to address perennial flooding.
“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Sabo Nanono has approved the purchase of de-silting equipment to clear the weeds and sand blocking the river,” he said.
According to him, the agency shut down water channels in the waterways on July 10, as part of flood control measures.
Abdullahi faulted claims that the release of excess water from dams by the agency caused the recent flooding in Kano and Jigawa.
He noted that the flood was recorded in areas alien to the disaster, and attributed it to the blockage of waterways by residents who dumped refuse on water canals.
On the irrigable land development project, Abdullahi said that the agency had developed about 16, 000 out of the projected 22,500 hectares of land for irrigation use in Kano State.
“Under the Kano Irrigation Project (KRIP), we have Kano East and Kano West scheme. The Kano East scheme covers Bunkunre, while the Kano West is being implemented in Kura.
“Only 16, 000 out of the proposed 22,500 hectares of irrigable land was developed under the KRIP project designed with canals to supply water to farmlands.
“We have also de-silted and reclaimed 2,000 out of the 5,000 hectares of land where farmers could not access water in spite of construction of canals due to blockage of waterways,” he said.
Abdullahi added that HJRBDA equally developed about 7,000 hectares of land under the Hadejia Phase I, Stage I project between Hadeji-Gololo-Katagum.
According to him, the agency is working in partnership with Transforming Irrigation Project in Nigeria (Triming), to develop more land, clear blocked channels and provide more water canals to encourage irrigation farming.
Abdullahi called for more private sector investment to reinvigorate agriculture towards sustainable development in the country.
The managing director cautioned Nigerians against the dumping of refuse on waterways to prevent flooding.
The HJRBDA was created in 1986 alongside 10 other River Development Authorities by the civilian administration of late President Shehu Shagari with a mandate to develop about 240,000 hectares of irrigable land.
It areas of operation covers rivers, dams and water bodies like Hadejia River, Komodugu River and Tiga Dam, cutting across Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe.