The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Utserv, has reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to enhancing water infrastructure nationwide.

Representing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, during the commissioning and handover of the 1.2km Idye river basin erosion control hydraulic drainage project, Utserv highlighted plans to construct dams across the country to mitigate flooding effects.

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The project was executed by the National Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (N-HYPPADEC).

“Water is life, which is why we are building dams across the country, including Benue,” said the minister. “We are also providing water infrastructure across Nigeria, with the president committed to building a nation where everyone is involved.”

Acknowledging N-HYPPADEC’s efforts to combat environmental degradation and promote sustainable community development, SGF noted the project’s significance in addressing flood challenges in Makurdi.

Senator Akume emphasized that the agency’s objectives align with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision of an industrialized nation with adequate electricity from hydropower dams without compromising the living standards of local communities.

He noted that reversing the environmental damage from floods Andrew erosion requires meticulous, long-term planning executed in stages. “This flood control project is an early step towards reversing ecological degradation and promoting sustainable development in riverine communities across the country,” SGF stated.

In his speech, Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, represented by his deputy, Sam Ode, expressed concerns about the state’s susceptibility to seasonal flooding and erosion due to its geographical location and climate. He emphasized that these challenges threaten agricultural productivity, safety, and livelihoods.

“The Idye flood control/dyke project is not just a necessity but a beacon of hope for our communities,” said Alia.

N-HYPPADEC Managing Director, Abubakar Yelwa, highlighted the devastating effects of flooding, citing that 18,349 houses and farmlands were destroyed, and 134,797 people were displaced in 2022.

“For years, Makurdi and other parts of Benue State have faced annual flooding, displacing numerous families,” he said. “The 2022 floods were particularly tragic, underscoring the urgent need for decisive action to safeguard communities and livelihoods.”

He added that the federal government had spent approximately N1.2 billion on the project, including additional excavation of 2.5kms to protect the community’s lower basin.

The initiative represents a significant step toward mitigating the impact of floods and promoting sustainable development in affected areas.