Se­na­tor Lawan chides Sambo over Kafin Zaki dam ...Says project will im­pov­er­ish 15 mil­lion people

Daily Trust - - INTERVIEW - By Tu­raki A. Has­san

The planned Kafin Zaki dam in Bauchi, if con­structed, would only serve to fur­ther en­dan­ger the liveli­hoods of more than 15 mil­lion people, said Se­na­tor Ah­mad Ibrahim Lawan.

Re­act­ing to com­ments made by Vice Pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Na­madi Sambo dur­ing the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) zonal rally in Bauchi, re­cently, that govern­ment will com­plete the con­struc­tion of the dam, Se­na­tor Lawan, rep­re­sent­ing Yobe North Se­na­to­rial District, ar­gued that do­ing so will se­verely re­duce the wa­ter from River Jama’are to the down­stream ar­eas of Yobe, Borno Ji­gawa and some parts of Bauchi State.

Lawan said the af­fected ar­eas were yet to re­cover from ef­fects of con­struc­tion of Tiga Dam in 1976 and Challawa gorge dam in 1992 which sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced wa­ter flow into the Ko­madugu Yobe Basin.

He said: “The so­cio – eco­nomic im­pacts of the block­age have been ob­vi­ous over the years. To­day, that part of the North-east­ern part of Nigeria is the poor­est, due to the in­abil­ity of the people to farm, fish, rear an­i­mals and other sim­i­lar wealth gen­er­at­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that they eke life from.”

Lawan averred that the cur­rent in­se­cu­rity in Borno and Yobe states could be at­trib­uted to the wide spread poverty in the area.

He said that the sit­u­a­tion could get worse if the prob­lem of de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion ac­cen­tu­ated by the lack of wa­ter to sup­port fora and fauna life in the af­fected states per­sisted.

“Any fur­ther short­age of wa­ter will ag­gra­vate the sit­u­a­tion,” he added.

Con­tin­u­ing, he said: “While the Kafin Zaki Dam project is to pro­vide jobs to about 100,000 people, it should be stated that River Jama’are presently pro­vides means of liveli­hoods for of about fif­teen mil­lion people down­stream. It is log­i­cal that there are far more people and com­mu­ni­ties to ben­e­fit from the unim­peded flow of the river more than the people to ben­e­fit other­wise it.”

How­ever, Lawan com­mended Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan over his stance on the con­struc­tion of the Kafin Zaki Dam, say­ing: “In 2010, the Pres­i­dent told a high pow­ered del­e­ga­tion from Bauchi State that he would take a look at the EIA Re­port on the pro­posed dam to en­sure that ev­ery­thing was done prop­erly and cor­rectly.”

He ad­vised the Federal Govern­ment to enun­ci­ate pro­grammes to re­duce poverty and en­gen­der an all in­clu­sive growth in the North-east.

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