The Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, has said that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has commenced the process for the long awaited dredging of River Benue.
Engr Adamu gave the hint Tuesday in an interview with newsmen in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, shortly after he commissioned a rice mill project, inspected an ongoing construction of Feed Mill, commissioned Songhai integrated model farm and laid foundation for the new office complex extension, all at the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority (LBRBDA), Makurdi.
He said the FGN has taken the first step in that direction by signing the technical operational agreement with a team of Engineers for the dredging of River Benue and river Niger.
Engr Adamu estimated that only the master plan to start with, will cost about 50 million Euros while subsequent work to be done will require a minimum of 14 Billion dollars over a period of 20 to 25 years.
“Dredging a river like river Benue is not a small task, it’s not something that can be done within the lifespan of a single administration. It’s work that needs to be done for almost a generation and it requires one to do the master plan for successive administrations to key into that programme and sufficiently finance it”, Adamu explained.
The minister of Water Resources who frowned at the alleged failure of the Benue State Government over the years to utilize series of interventions provided by the FG to boost water supply in the state declared that there will be no water project for the state this year, 2023.
Fielding questions on whether there’s any plan by the FG to provide portable water for Benue people from river Benue which has become a curse to the people instead of blessing, Adamu said, “I don’t think at this moment, there’s any particular project for Benue because there has already been an intervention by the federal government many years ago but the Benue State Government has not put to use properly.
“What has been of concern to us at the federal level is that we have been investing heavily in water supply infrastructure for states but some states have not been doing the needful in terms of maintenance of the infrastructures. So, it discourages us at the federal level, investing money when the service is not going to the people”.
Earlier in a welcome address, LBRBDA Managing Director, Engr Mohammed Adra who acknowledged that many of the projects commissioned at the Lower Benue were personal initiatives of the minister said, he decided to invite him to Benue to see the modest achievements of the Authority under his watch before he (Adamu) will exit office in the next few months.
While Engr Adra appealed to the FG to complete the North Central Zonal Water Quality Control Laboratory located within the premises of the Authority, he disclosed LBRBDA has keyed into the Graduate Youth Empowerment Programme (GYEP) of the minister aimed at supporting the FG at lifting one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within ten years.
Among many other achievements, the Managing Director said the LBRBDA under his administration has established two Songhai integrated model farms with a pilot scheme located at the headquarters in Makurdi and a major scheme located at Doma in Nasarawa state and the two Songhai farms are thriving according to him.
Speaking on behalf of staff of the Authority, LBRBDA union chairman, Engr Amos Yange, described Engr Suleiman Adamu as a labour-friendly minister who cares a lot about staff welfare and has done much for them.