Cross-River government wants more dams for agricultural activities

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Nigerian Government has been urged to construct more dams for the development and sustenance of achievements in the agricultural sector.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State in southern Nigeria, made the appeal during the visit of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Comfort Ekaro to his office in Calabar, the capital city.

Professor Ayade, who noted that the construction of dams would enhance the Cross River industrialization drive in the agro sector, said “there is a relationship between water abundance and hospitality because without water, it is impossible to provide the kind of hospitality expected of a State like our”.

Sustain Investments

The Governor said that the construction of more dams would benefit the State in its accelerated agric development program for maize, yellow maize, soya bean, cocoa, banana and rice.

According to Ayade, the State Government has established a cocoa processing plant in Ikom, vitaminized rice processing mill in Ogoja, rice seed and seedling factory and an ultramodern feed mill as well as an integrated poultry, which would require intensive irrigation.

“In all of these, we cannot sustain the massive requirement of maize, soya beans and rice to feed our industries without dams, without irrigation. Obviously Cross River State is blessed; you have to cross a river to get to almost everywhere,” he noted.

He stressed that the demography of Cross River State was such, which required the special attention of the Nigerian Government.

“All the indices on the demography prove that Cross River is in critical need of the Nigerian Government’s attention. However, that has not been the case. Cross River State is almost on its knees,” Ayade lamented.

WASH Gains

Comfort Ekaro, the Permanent Secretary in an earlier remark, said she was on a maiden tour of Nigeria’s 12 Basin Development Authorities.

Ekaro commended Cross River for taking the lead in the comity of States on implementation of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, action plans with five Local Government Areas declared Open Defecation Free.

The Permanent Secretary urged the State to continue in efforts at providing clean, safe and potable water for residents as well as sustaining the gains on sanitation.

“You have already supported the programme. But, we need more so that we can have good sanitation and avoid having residents fall into social and physical dangers associated with the practice of open defecation,” stated Ekaro.

She stated that the Ministry was prepared to partner with State Government to provide the people especially farmers with the relevant support such as adequate water supply.

The Permanent secretary later inspected projects of the Cross River Basin Development Authority in communities in the State and Akwa Ibom area.