Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, has urged state governments to allocate irrigable land for the 12 river basins nationwide to support irrigated farming.
Utsev emphasized this during his visit to Niger State Governor, Umaru Bago, following a familiarization tour to the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority within the state.
He highlighted that President Bola Tinubu directed the ministry to enhance food production, ensuring ample supply for local consumption and export purposes.
“As part of the `Renewed Hope’ agenda of President Tinubu, all hands must be on deck to ensure maximum food security; therefore, it is not going to be business as usual.
“We are not relenting to ensure that the state-of-emergency placed on food production achieved results in line with the President’s agenda and we are leaving no stone unturned,’’ Utsev stressed.
He mentioned assigning specific targets to managing directors of river basins, urging them to participate in both wet and dry season farming activities.
The minister informed the governor that as part of their objectives, the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority would oversee the refurbishment of the Bedeggi irrigation scheme, Suleja and Bida waterworks, and the installation of boreholes within the state.
He promised increased cooperation with the state government, highlighting that the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority possesses a dam capable of supplying water to Agaie and Lapai towns.
Additionally, Utsev mentioned that dams in Gbako and Egbea Gaba towns could serve purposes of irrigation and water supply.
Upon receiving the minister and his delegation, Niger State Deputy Governor, Mallam Yakubu Garba, expressed concerns about the underutilization of the four dams in Niger State.
He noted that only 30% of these dams were currently employed for power generation.