The Federal Government intends to partially commercialize the dams in the nation’s 12 river basins in order for them to efficiently carry out their responsibilities.
Prof. Joseph Utsev, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, made the announcement on Wednesday after viewing the Tiga dam in Kano State’s Bebeji Local Government Area.
The minister stated that commercializing the basins will result in higher revenue for the federal government.
He promised that the massive infrastructure available at the basins would provide a return on investment.
He explained that the effort would assure long-term operations and infrastructure management.
”The basins have huge infrastructure like water supply schemes, dams and irrigation that require good funding to be able to keep them running and to provide dividends for Nigerians.
He said the aim of the visit was to assess the state of the dam and the challenges with a view of addressing them for optimal growth.
The minister explained that the main purpose of constructing the dam was for irrigation, flood control and energy generation.
The Federal Government is ever ready to partner commercial farmers to pave the way for massive production of assorted food crops in an all-year farming system.
” We are ready to partner with commercial farmers, they come and register with us, and we will allow them to tap water from the dam for commercial farming which will help immensely in enhancing food production.”
He said one of the major challenges the dam was currently facing was illegal tapping of the water from the dam by farmers.
” Farmers are tapping water illegally from the canals and this will have a negative impact, hence we are working towards calling the attention of the farmers so that they will register with the government and the water would be supplied to them.
“We will also update our database for effective service delivery,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin, Ma’Amun Dau Aliyu, explained that more than 3 million farmers were benefiting from the Tiga Dam while hundreds of others were syphoning the water illegally.
He said the basin had since commenced moves to mobilise all those operating illegally so that they would register.
Aliyu hinted that the dam, built 50 years ago, was constructed on 1.4 billion cubic water capacity, and was done on some five million combined Kano/Jigawa population then, but still not being fully utilised.
He said Tiga Dam had canals and small dams that linked up to Lake Chad through Komadugu River Basin in Yobe State, adding that with the commercialisation of the dam, more economic inputs would be recorded.