Sabke Dam Irrigation Scheme: A Giant failed Project – By Ado Umar Lalu
Nations all over the world works round the clock to attain self-sufficiency in agricultural productions that will ensure and guarantee food security by transforming subsistence to large scale farming.
Agricultural productions depends largely on the climatic conditions of the area. In the southern parts of the country, the regular rainfall in the area facilitates and supports two farming seasons or more in a year.
In the northern parts of the country, due to irregular and scanty rainfall and sometimes the effects of drought necessitates the constructions of Dam(s) to encourage people to engage in farming particularly irrigation.
Many states in the north such as Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Katsina and others embarked on constructions of Dam(s) in order to provide water which is the backbone and most important components in dry season farming that makes it easier and profitable in their respective communities.
However, majority of our water supplies and irrigation projects/schemes in the North are currently facing one problem or the other that makes dry season farming difficult, less attractive, unprofitable and sometimes the farmers failed to achieve their target as a result of dryingoff of the Dam(s) or needs for dredging. For example, Thomas Dam along Danbatta-Kano highway and Gwarzo Dam located along Gwarzo-Dayi highway are in needs of urgent attention for dredging and rehabilitation of irrigation channels that makes water distributions difficult and irrigation farming impossible.
In an efforts to boost agricultural productions and water supplies schemes, the defunct PTF during the regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha embarked on the construction of multibillion Naira Sabke water supplies and irrigation project situated between Dutsi and Maiadua Local Government Areas of Katsina State.
With the untimely death of Gen. Abacha which leads to the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the project was abandoned despite series of appeals, lobbies and pleading to complete the projects, but all the efforts to persuade the government to finish it were all in vain.
We thinks that the project was abandoned because Gen Muhammadu Buhari joined the opposition party and becomes the major leader of the opposition in Nigeria from 2002-2015.
The second coming of Gen Muhammadu Buhari as democratically elected President of Federal Republic of Nigeria couple with his zeal and interest on agriculture, we thought this project will be completed on time and be put into proper use that will engage thousands of youths and others in agriculture and fishing to boosts the economy of the people in the area and the state in general.
However, after four (4) years of this administration; the irrigation scheme of Sabke dam could not see the light of the day. The areas earmarked for irrigation are dried with no sign of any farming activities in the areas in this peak when we visited the site today (06/12/2019).
The most annoying thing on the pathetic situation of Sabke irrigation project is that, the incumbent Minister of Water Resources is part and parcel of this project from the initial stage, but under his watch the project was neglected and eventually maybe an abandoned project that will leave everlasting bad memories in the minds of the potential farmers and beneficiaries of this irrigation scheme/project.
The bedrock of food security is encouragement of people to embrace farming to boost local food production through rehabilitation of water reservoirs for irrigation and other incentives that will make farming attractive. Nowadays people are ever ready to go into agricultural productions particularly rice which is now the favorites food among Nigerians, but shortage of water becomes their nightmares.
My expectations and that of other people on Minister of Water Resources on assumption of duty is that, he will undertake an assessments of irrigation schemes nationwide through River Basin Authority to determine what needs to be done by Federal Government or in collaboration with State Government to puts them into proper use to boost agricultural production to reduce our reliance on imported food particularly rice.
With due respect to the Hon Minister of Water Resources and other concerned authority; all eyes are on you to see what you are going to do on Sabke Irrigation Project and similar other projects such as Thomas that you passed through whenever you visit home within this limited time.
I will appreciate if my little write-up will receive your utmost attention and considerations.
Ado Umar Lalu Esq