Niger state Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has called for more presence of the federal government to fully utilize the water bodies in the state.
The governor made the call on Tuesday, when he received on courtesy, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Engr. Joseph T. Utsev, at the Government House, Minna.
He observed that the state has four dams used for electricity generation, saying they were under utilized as only 30 percent of their potentials were being utilized.
The governor who was represented by his Deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, said the coming of the minister would be a blessing to the state as the present administration in the state has prioritized dams and irrigation activities and was making frantic efforts to revive irrigation activities that have been abandoned for years in the state.
He observed that the presence of the federal government in the irrigation sector of Kano state had not only developed the sector but also revived the economy of the state, asking for similar federal government presence in Niger state.
"Niger state is home of dams, especially in the northern Nigeria. I don't see any reason why the federal government will not come into our state to revitalize the irrigation system that have been abandoned since 1980s, and I hope the minister will help us to have more benefits of these water bodies in the state," the governor said.
He appreciated the federal government through the ministry for the rehabilitation work on the water works in Agaie and Lapai local government areas, saying they will forever remember it and asked that the state expected more of such interventions.
He disclosed that provision of water to its people, especially at the grassroots was not something the state can shoulder alone, and that they will appreciate it if the federal government assist in this direction.
Earlier, the Minister informed the governor that he was in the state for a familiarization visit to the Upper River Niger Basin Development Authority, which is an agency under the ministry of water resources and sanitation, saddled with the responsibility of developing ground and surface water resources for multi-purpose uses in Niger, Kaduna and FCT.
He said he was reliably informed about the existence of a working collaboration between the agency and Niger state government in the areas of irrigation activities and water supply which have been marvelous.
The minister noted that the relationship had yielded some positive results as the agency had succeeded in supervising the rehabilitation of Badeggi irrigation scheme, Suleja and Bida water works, as well as the construction of several boreholes across the state, hoping that the relationship would be sustained under his leadership.
He added that the agency has a dam to be use for water supply to Agaie and Lapai, while the one in Gbako and other places would be use for irrigation and water supply for the benefit of the people of Niger state.
The Minister also informed the governor that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have charged the ministry of water resources to collaborate and work to ensure food was made available for the people of Nigeria.
The reconstruction and dualisation of the 83-kilometre Minna-Bida road, co-financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Abu Dhabi Development Fund, were among other issues that top the discussions of Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago, with the Vice President of the IsDB, Mansur Muktar, at the Royal Guest Palace in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
In a statement made available to Newsline by the Chief Press Secretary, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, the governor who was among the entourage of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Saudi Arabia, was said to have used the opportunity to deepen the already established workers relationship between the state and IsDB.
Also in attendance were Katsina State governor Dikko Radda, Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Recall that a multi sector finance of 163 Million U.S dollars had been secured for the Minna-Bida road project, out of which the Islamic Development Bank will provide 86.64 million dollars, 44.76 million dollars from the Abu Dhabi Development Fund, while the Niger State government was to provide 31.6 million dollars.
A startup workshop had also been organized for the project.