House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to carry out a holistic Needs Assessment of Irrigation Dams across the country and ensure their expeditious construction for agricultural purposes.
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Power, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the Nigerian Independent Power Project (NIPP) to direct the Contractors handling the installation of 33KVA Line in Onne, Rivers State and a 33KVA Line in Bayelsa State to complete it.
The resolutions followed two separate motions considered at the plenary.
In a motion titled: “Reviving Earth Dams Across the Country”, moved by Hon. Saidu Mohammed Mustafa; Hon. Julius O. Ihonvbere and Hon. Abubakar Yahaya Kusada also asked the ministry to give priority attention to the construction of irrigation Dam Projects in subsequent budget proposals.
Hon. Mustapha who moved the motion had noted that food security has become a matter of urgent national importance in the face of challenges such as floods, climate change, rising population growths and insecurity.
He said: “Today’s agriculture uses 70 per cent of all freshwater withdrawals globally, and up to 95 per cent in several developing countries to meet the growing food demand and shifting diet needs of people
“In 1976 the Federal Government Established eleven (11) River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) namely; Lake Chad Basin, Upper Benue Basin, Lower Benue Basin, Cross River Basin, Anambra–Imo Basin, Niger Basin, Osun–Ogun Basin, Benin–Owena Basin, Niger Delta Basin, Sokoto–Rima Basin and Hadejia–Iema’are Basin to ensure the full exploitation of the country’s water resources and to optimize agricultural potentials for food self-sufficiency.
“The huge benefits accruable to the nation as a result of its vast arable land and water resources include domestic use, all year irrigation, industrial uses, flood control, hydroelectric power, tourism, recreation, navigation etc.; which are the catalyst for economic development but have continued to elude the nation owing to the failure of the River Basin Authorities to fulfil their mandates.
“Rice, a major staple food consumed in Nigeria which accounts for over 10 per cent of household food spending would be impacted negatively in the subsisting year due to shortage of rainfall particularly in Adamawa and other Northern states.
“The Federal Government’s current drive to diversify the economy through agriculture, hence there is no better time to expand our Dams and Reservoir projects across the country to make for the irrigation of arable land, support diversification of the economy and boost agricultural production as well as manage devastating floods that have ravaged most agrarian communities like Fufore and Song in Adamawa, Bende, Uzuakoli, Igbere in Abia, Daura in Katsina, others in Sokoto, Kogi, Niger, Katsina, Gombe, Adamawa, Benue, FCT, Nasarawa, Delta, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Edo, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Borno, Kano and Kebbi to mention but a few.
“According to erstwhile report about 13.8 million people will be facing acute food shortage crisis between June and August 2021 and that the number could grow to about 14 million if measures are not taken on time to avert the hunger crisis.
“The revitalization and efficient utilization of Dams across the country would improve agricultural productivity, mitigate rural-urban migration, create employment for our teeming youths, and ultimately eradicate poverty in the country.”
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Water Resources to visit and assess the eleven River Basin Development Authorities, their Dams and Reservoir projects across the country to ascertain their level of operations and ensure appropriate budgetary allocations in subsequent years.
On the installation of 33KVA lines in Rivers and Bayelsa States, the House while considering the motion sponsored by Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante and 17 others reasoned that the completion of the facilities would boost the economy and the living conditions in the States.
“Bayelsa State, Rivers State is home to Nigeria’s biggest export and has the highest number of oil wells and reserves in the country and therefore, Nigeria’s prosperity in terms of its GDP and foreign exchange earnings cannot be well-articulated without mentioning the significant contributions of Rivers and the Bayelsa States.
“Despite the number of resources and potentials in Rivers and Bayelsa States, the 33KVA Line which should be a catalyst for industry and manufacture has not been considered to the extent that the 33KVA Line infrastructure proposed for Onne, Rivers State has since been abandoned while the installation of 33KVA Line in Bayelsa is yet to commence.
“There is a direct relationship between unemployment and increased militancy /kidnappings and other sundry crimes, hence, the completion of the abandoned 33KVA Line in Onne, Rivers State and installation of the same (33KVA Line) in Bayelsa State will go a long way in ensuring rapid industrialization of the two States thus reducing unemployment and all forms of social vices such as militancy, cultism and kidnapping”, Abiante said while moving the motion.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Power and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.