Opinion: THE LONG WAY ZOBE DAMPROJECT IN KATSINA -BY ABDULKADIR SAFANA

The construction of Zobe Dam near Dutsin-Ma in Katsina state began in 1972 and was commissioned in July 1983 by the defunct second republic administration then President Shehu Shagari. The dam was a Federal Urban Water Project. It has however been abandoned soon after it was commissioned.

The water supply project was planned to be completed in 1995, but the US $122,000,000 project was abandoned due to non-funding.

In September 1999 heavy rains caused the Zobe Dam to overflow, resulting in heavy crop losses. The flood washed away millet, groundnuts, guinea corn and beans. The farmers, who were inadequately compensated when the dam site was acquired, were destitute with the rainy season nearing its end and their corps destroyed.

In January 2003, the water treatment plant 2.5 km from the reservoir was half completed but had been abandoned. Booster stations and water tanks were in various stages of completion along the route to the city. The only pipe that had been laid of 111 kilometers required was the 2.1 kilometer stretch from the reservoir to the treatment plant. The water supply project needed N13 billion to be completed. President OlusegunObasanjo approved the funding, and the next month paid a visit to the dam.

Later in August, a director of Katsina State Water Board at that time, said, lack of focus and direction were the main obstacles to completion of Zobe Dam. He said that Zobe, one of the largest bodies of water in Nigeria with huge irrigation potential, was lying wasted. Also,farmers were demanding release of water from the dam.

The water supply project was intended to deliver 65,000 cubic meters of potable water to Katsina metropolis daily.

Later in August, governor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua said the state government had allocated N317 million in funding for a 16-kilometer supply of water from Zobe Dam to Dutsinma town, due to be completed in September that year. He also warned of increased water tariffs in the state, since current rates were not enough to cover costs. Later in December 2004, Katsina Central Senator Umaru Tsauri said that the federal government had allocated N1 billion for completion of the project.

In June 2009 the Katsina State government announced plans to set up a hydropower station at the unused dam to boost power supplies to the area and support mineral processing at the site. Engineer Musa Nashuni said the first step would be to investigate producing insulators for the electrification works, and after that the government would look into establishing plant to generate power for irrigation, water generation and local industries.

However, December 2009 the Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, discussed revised estimates for the Zobe Water Supply project. She said council had approved the revised consultancy fee from N123 million to N299 million. Later in March 2010 the Katsina State Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Nasiru Danmusa, said Zobe Dam and others would soon be completed in due course. That month, the Federal government set up a Projects Assessment Committee to probe incomplete projects where the contractors had received large payments but the work was incomplete, including the Zobe dam project.

Recently in june 2016, the federal government has earmarked about N600 million in the 2016 budget to boost water supply and irrigation farming at zobe Dam in katsina State.

Hon. Danlami Mohammed Kurfi, a member of House of Representatives from Dutsin-ma/Kurfi Federal Consistency, stated this during an interview with newsmen to mark the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) one year in office in Katsina.

Danlami said contract for the supply of water from the Zobe Dam to communities of Dutsin-ma and Kurfi would soon be awarded.

The lawmaker said about N300 million out of the amount had been set aside for irrigation at the dam to boost food production.

Kurfi said that the dam would be used for irrigation farming to generate income for unemployed youth from his constituency.

He said the Federal Government would also established two power sub-stations in Dutsin-ma and Kurfi Local Government Areas to boost electricity supply to the two areas.

Up till now, the Dam could not be able to pump a single cup of water for consumption to the host community and other neighboring states.

We hope the current administration will work hard and complete the long way project.

Abdulkadir Safana

abdulkaridsafana@gmail.com

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