The Managing Director, Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority, Mr Salihu Ahmed, has urged Ondo Government to speed up processes to reticulate water from the completed Owena Multipurpose Dam for the benefit of the populace.
Ahmed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that it was saddening to note that the completed dam, which has not the capacity of 60,000 cubic meters, had the potential to provide water for 200,000 persons daily.
“The river basin development authority has done all it can to complete the Owena Multipurpose Dam which has the capacity of 60,000 cubic metres capacity, it is however saddening that reticulation has not been done by Ondo state government.”
On the stage of work at the dam, he said that construction of the dam was basically the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
He said that the reticulation from the treatment plants to various communities that would benefit from the project was the responsibility of the state government.
“The dam has been completed so many years back, the treatment plants have also been completed years back but never in use.
“Though it has been tested, we are waiting for the pipe-laying to be completed.
“The pipe network from the treatment plants to various towns that will get the treated water is the state government’s responsibility, that is the stage of the work right now and I know there has been very high level of consultation to get this started.
“The reticulation from the treatment plant to the various communities that will benefit is the state’s responsibilities that is the Ondo State government and not the responsibility of the Federal Government.”
Ahmed said that the team recently paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu where the he stressed the state government’s commitment in getting the dam fully completed and put into use.
He said that the uptake of the Songhai Model of Agriculture in the Graduate and Youth Empowerment Programme had helped in areas of food production aquaculture, piggery and poultry production.
While commending efforts of the Federal Government to promote food security, Ahmed said that the repositioning of the river basin development authorities had helped on rural infrastructure development.
The managing director said that the river basin development authority had the over 5,000 irrigation potential, adding that only 300 hectares were being cultivated with the use of the center pivot irrigation system.
Center-pivot irrigation, also called water-wheel and circle irrigation, is a method of crop irrigation in which equipment rotates around a pivot and crops are watered with sprinklers.
He said that the authority was carrying out corporate social responsibility through the construction of drainage for flood and erosion control, provision of solar-powered electricity and infrastructure development in schools and communities.
He said that the authority had begun the process of engaging 250 young persons on rice production in partnership with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, a programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said that the programme would catalyse youth’s involvement in agri-business and enterprise development with an overall benefit of making agriculture and agribusiness, an economically viable means of livelihood to the youths.
NAN reports that the Federal Government recently inaugurated a blueprint and Action Plan to Reposition the River Basin Development Authorities.
Part of it is the partial commercialisation in partnership with the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
By Tosin Kolade