One of the largest water bodies in Nigeria with huge irrigation potential is wasting away. The construction of Zobe Dam in Dutsinma, Katsina state began in 1972, but up to date, funding of this project has not stopped. Billions of Naira has been awarded continuously to complete this project, but the days go on and water is not forthcoming. This water supply project was intended to deliver 65,000 cubic meters of portable water to Katsina metropolis daily. Enough is enough! Why are we still letting unfathomable acts happen in our nation?
The Dam is a federal urban water project which was to be completed in 1995 but was abandoned soon after it was commissioned in 1983 by the defunct second republic administration of Shehu Shagari due to non funding. There were complaints from farmers who were demanding that water should be released from the dam. In 2003, former President Obasanjo awarded N13 billion naira for the completion of the project. As usual, the money evaporated and the project stopped. Every time a new government takes over, they have conflicting ideas about the project instead of implementing the necessary actions to complete the long term project. Katsina state government under Ibrahim Shehu Shema in 2009, brought a plan to step up a hydropower station at the unused dam to boost power supplies within the state. A huge amount of money was awarded and at the end of it all, the dam was abandoned.
Something is really wrong with our leaders. From early 2009 to December, about 1.3 billion naira has been spent over this project under the time of late Umar Yaradua who happens to be an indigene of Katsina state. The present government has also awarded over 700 million Naira for the same project of 1972, in two years.
Even though patience is a virtue, the people of Katsina have long run out of patience. A project of 1972 that should have been completed in 1995 is still being funded in 2017 after 45years. Please where did all the funds go? Who are the individuals responsible for the funds? Why is the project taking forever and when will it be completed for good?
What bothers me more about this issue is that Katsina State produced two elected presidents between 1999 to 2015. The second is in his second year at office. whereas, the first died in office in his second year due to a prolonged illness . The Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources during the two-year term of late Yaradua is also an indigene of Katsina State where the abandoned project is wasting away. In my opinion, this project should have been one of their top priorities in office. This is a project that would boost agriculture in the state and also fuel the economic growth of the nation. It would also supply thousands of cubic meters of portable water to the entire state and help curb the rate of cholera and typhoid cases. At the moment, the dam is basically useless and a waste of space. The government of Katsina should hang its head in utter shame!
Abdulkadir Ahmad Safana. (Mass Communication and Journalism student at BlueCrest College Accra, Ghana) +233238285559