The managing director of Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, yesterday said that the dredging of Rivers Niger, Benue and Kaduna will gulp about $20 billion.
Yelwa, who said that the dredging of the rivers is necessary to check perennial flooding in the flood prone areas, added that it will be difficult for the federal government to handle the project without interventions from international donor agencies.
He spoke at the 2023 stakeholders meeting on flood mitigation and other related issues in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Yelwa disclosed that the estimated cost for dredging of the rivers as at 1983 when the federal government asked for the cost was $2billion, adding that the cost had astronomically gone up over 10 times.
He told the stakeholders at the meeting that the funding of the project was beyond the commission and the federal government.
“The dredging of river Niger or Benue, as the case may be, has always been repeatedly suggested in all the places we have visited. We have visited about five states including Kwara, almost all the states were asking for dredging.
“In 1983 when the former president Shehu Shagari government asked for the cost of dredging of River Niger and Benue, a bill of $2billion was given. That was in 1983. You can imagine the scope now, even if the dollar had remained the same, the scope would have gone up 10 times. That is why it is difficult.
“It is not what HYPPADEC can fund, and not even the federal government without making recourse to international organisations for intervention and that is what we are working towards to mobilise international donor agencies for intervention,” he added.
To mitigate 2023 flood prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Yelwa said the commission would embark on an afforestation programme, adding that trees would be planted in five hectares of land in each of the five local government areas in Kwara North, being a flood-prone area of the state.
Also, the team lead of Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOWHWOC), Christy Abayomi- Oluwole, called for a multi-sectoral approach towards mitigating floods in Kwara.
She recommended that a rapid response team on flooding should be reviewed towards addressing challenges associated with flooding and its effects on dwellers of riverine areas.