President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that the erosion control works on the drainage basin of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria lake/dam would re-stimulate improved agricultural activities in the university and its surroundings.
Buhari , who stated this in Kaduna at the commissioning and handover ceremony of the project cited in Zaria local government area noted that the project was in tandem with his administration’s agenda of diversifying the economy through improved agricultural development. He assured that the project would reduce dangers to lives and properties associated with erosion and consistent flooding experienced in some communities in recent times.
The president underscored his determination to implement all genuine policies, agreement and contracts at both national and international level signed by the previous administration in its quest for achieving a prosperous nation.
According to him, “At this critical moment of our nation building, economic recovery and also in keeping with the agricultural potentials abounding in this area, there is no doubt that the project will provide banquet of opportunities in the university community in the areas of research and development.”
The president who was represented by the minister of state, mines and steel development, Hon, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, revealed that the project was one of the eighteen intervention projects approved by Mr. President and awarded in April, 2017.
He explained that the project was urgently awarded considering its socio-economic importance to the people adding that its completion has demonstrated his administration’s commitment in addressing problems confronting various communities across the country.
The president stated that federal government’s intervention on the project was a pointer to the fact that ABU moribund farm would receive a new boost that would rejuvenate farming activities and general livestock at commercial level meant to promote socio- economic wellbeing and revenue generation profile for the university.
He enjoined the university’s management and the entire community to cherish the project and guard against decay saying that it’s the responsibility of the university to maintain the project to ensure its sustainability.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary, Ecological Fund Office, (EFO) Dr. Habiba Lawal, enjoined benefitting communities to take over and assume ownership of the project for proper maintenance and sustainability.
She however warned against defacing the project adding that federal government investment should not be wasted.
Lawal emphasised that the timely completion of the project was made possible through the efforts of the project contractors and consultants who had worked assiduously to ensure minimum loss of time in the project implementation schedule .
She noted that the project was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and executed by EFO adding that it was one of the first quarter 2017 ecological intervention projects that was awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on 5th April, 2017.
The perm sec disclosed that the project was initiated through a request by the vice chancellor of ABU Zaria, Prof Ibrahim Garba, who sought for urgent intervention on the structural decay of ABU lake/ dam which had provided the university community source of water for agricultural purposes and human consumption.
On his part, the vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof Ibrahim Garba, who spoke on behalf of the benefitting communities commended federal government for the intervention works.
While appreciating the level of work carried out by the contractor and strict supervision of the consultant and in- house project monitoring committee, he insisted that some good finishes were needed to make the dam sustainable.
To this end, he said that there was the need for catchment protection works on the project in order to reduce excessive silt transport and deposition from upstream areas into the reservoir.
Garba further solicited for the provision of rip rap on both faces of the dam adding that the presence of grasses might attract herders which could pose a problem to the dam embankment.
He observed that leaving the crest of the dam bare without surface dressing might lead to gradual erosion of the lacteritic soil, a situation that could lead to dam failure.
The VC stated that reconstruction of embankment, spillway, provision of rip rap, drainage of the reservoir and sluice way for downstream water release would increase the lifespan of the dam embankment and reservoir.
He appreciated the EFO for its earlier intervention on the Kubanni reservoir that was initially reduced to half of its constructed capacity saying that the community has benefitted immensely from the project.
Garba pledged that within the limit of their resources, that the community would guard the facilities jealously so as to fulfil its intended purposes.
Recall that the project was the first to be commissioned at the on-going nationwide commissioning exercise (first phase) of over fifty (50) federal government’s completed projects awarded through the Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) between May 2015 and December, 2017.
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