Residents of riverine communities in Shagari Local Government of Sokoto State have urged the Federal Government to complete the Shagari irrigation scheme.
The residents of these communities have also decried that 15 years after the completion of Shagari dam, the irrigation scheme was yet to take off.
The dam was constructed by the Federal Government in 2007.
According to the concerned residents, 29 communities were affected by the construction of the dam.
They include, Gangam, Tudun Lona, Rugar Buda, Kauran Marafa, Takalmawa, Lambara, Illelar-Dabore and Dundeji, Gidan Baura, Gidan Tudu Badiyawa and Dorowa, among others.
According to Malam Chika Illelar-Dabore, hundreds of households had been displaced by the construction of the 34-kilometre long dam.
“Almost 15 years after completion of the dam, the 1,000-hectare irrigation scheme is yet to commence.
“Consequently, irrigation activities are yet to commence and we want Federal Government to come to our aid in this direction and complete the irrigation scheme.
“This entails the provision of the needed water canals, other accessories and other related facilities to us.
“Doing this will certainly make us more productive, just as it will boost food security in the state and Nigeria, in general,” Illelar-Dabore said.
A cross section of the residents also told NAN that the aim of
constructing the dam has not been achieved, due to the non completion of the irrigation scheme.
“The intended social and economic benefits of the dam are yet to be achieved since 2007,” Umar Magaji, a concerned resident of Gidan-Magana Village said.
They also decried that the payment of compensation to the affected households had not been completed since then.
“Many of the affected families had been forced to migrate from their ancestral homes to other parts of the country, especially Niger,” Ibrahim Musa said.
The residents also called for the construction of crossover bridges across the dam, to prevent the recurring incidents of boat mishaps.
“In this direction, we want a bridge to be constructed to link Shagari – Tureta road with Shagari – Ginga road.
“As it is now, we have no option than to transport ourselves by patronizing the rickety locally-made boats.
“This is responsible for the recurring boat mishaps, including the most recent one at Gidan-Magana, on April 13 that led to the death of 29 teenage hawkers,” a local diver, Malam Ango Waliyi said.
Reacting, the Executive Director, Engineering, Sokoto Rima River
Development Authority (SRRBDA), Mr Abubakar Mayana, told NAN in Sokoto on Wednesday that plans had been concluded to complete the irrigation scheme.
“Canals and other facilities would have been provided by now. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way they should have been.
“Happily, there is a proposal now to construct some canals and all the needed accessories at the scheme.
“Adequate funds will also be provided by the Federal Government in 2023 for the provision of all the necessary requirements,” Mayana added.
On calls for the construction of bridges, Mayana stated that “it is not part of our mandate to do so, but that of the National Inland Waterways Authority”.
Also, the SRRBDA’s Executive Director, Planning, Mr Bashir Bala-Zango said that the Federal Government had earmarked over N80 million for the payment of compensation to the affected households.
Bala-Zango said that the first batch of payment of N40 milllion was done in 2022 to 317 persons in Illelar-Dabore and Lololol villages.
“The N20 million provided in the 2022 budget for payment to the second batch has been approved, money released and we are only waiting for a cash backing.
“Arrangements have been concluded to commence the payment as soon as possible, while the third batch will also get N20 million.
“At the end, 639 persons will be fully compensated in Illelar-Dabore and Lokoko and 13 other communities, based on the last part assessment made,” he said.