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Kebbi governor wants River Niger dredged to stem floods

The Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, has called for the dredging of River Niger and de-silting of water bodies, to solve the perennial problem of flooding in the hydroelectric power producing areas.

Bagudu made the suggestion at a one-day stakeholder meeting on the dissemination of a report on the outcome of a needs assessment exercise in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday.

The meeting was organised by the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), in collaboration with its Technical Partner, the New Approach.

“HYPPADEC should take dredging of River Niger into consideration as the dredging will solve most of the challenges of perennial floods in the affected communities in hydroelectric power producing areas.”

Represented by the secretary to the state government, Babale Umar-Yauri, the governor assured the HYPPADEC of his administration’s commitment to cooperate and support, in order to mitigate the sufferings of communities affected by floods in the state.

Managing director of the commission, Abubakar Sadiq-Yelwa, said that the commission was birthed at a time when the nation was suffering from financial and economic challenges.

“We are looking to have non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are ready to support us, but they have to see the level of our commitment in project planning and execution.

“This exercise is a result of their own initiative which we accepted fully and implemented.

“The exercise went round the affected states, villages and wards, to see the situation the people are living in; the kind of environmental and economic sufferings, as well as social deprivation as a result of the River Niger,” he said.

Sadiq-Yelwa explained that the aim of the meeting was to carry along stakeholders in the affected areas, in order to incorporate them into the project implementation.

Read also: The fury of floods and food security

“We don’t want to go into project execution without the inputs of the people. This is a high-level meeting to get a high-level concept on how to address the happenings,” he said.

In her remarks, Lillian Iwu, the financial adviser of the needs assessment programme, said that it was difficult for them to work on assumptions in the modern world, hence the need to map out the needs assessment on how the NGO would intervene and render its support.

“We are partners. We are trying to help not to do the work of the state; we want to know what is there for us. It is a heavy exercise that we are interested in ameliorating the lingering suffering of the people,” she said.

Iwu thanked the participants in the needs assessment exercise and the enumerators that conducted round the villages and wards, as well as the state governments for their commitment to ensuring the success of the exercise.

The HYPPADEC’s establishment Act, (No. 87 of 2010) states that the commission shall, among other things, formulate policies and guidelines for the development of hydroelectric power producing areas.

Others are to carry out a survey of hydroelectric power producing areas, to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical development and prepare schemes designed to promote the physical developments of the areas.

It is also to implement all measures approved for the development of hydroelectric power producing areas by the Federal Government, in addition to tackling ecological problems that arise from overloading of dams in the hydroelectric power producing areas.

The commission is expected to advise the Federal and state governments appropriately on the prevention and control of floods and environmental hazards.

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