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Published On: Wed, Oct 22nd, 2014

Minister decry’s FG’s policy on River Basin Development Authorities

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From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe has said that the Federal Government’s removal of non water programmes from the functions of the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) had led to its dwindling fortune .

Ochekpe made this known yesterday at a four day National Irrigation and Drainage Seminar in Minna tagged ‘Advancing the Frontiers of Irrigation and Drainage for Agricultural Transformation’.

“As a consequence of the decisions of the federal government in the 1990s, the fortunes of these public irrigation institutions such as the RBDAs began to change.

“The change was manifested in restructuring programmes which removed the non-water programmes from the functions of the RBDAs,’’ she said.

She said the effect of the policy was that enormous assets of the RBDAs such as tractors, vehicles, plants and equipment, fishery schemes, cattle ranches, and buildings were hastily disposed off.

The minister who was represented by Mr Dickson Akhabughe, Deputy Director Irrigation and drainage at the ministry said the restructuring also resulted in massive retrenchment of highly trained professionals and experienced staff.

She said the measure resulted in the loss of faith and confidence in the RBDAs by the farmers, adding that “the situation left the schemes of the RBDAs abandoned by the farmers’’. Ochekpe said inadequate funding and untimely releases of funds by the federal government also contributed to the dwindling fortunes of the RBDAs across the country.

Inaugurating the workshop the state governor Dr Babangida Aliyu urged the participants to take it serious in order to ensure the food security of the nation.

“This seminar will go a long way in helping the federal government transform the agricultural sector of our country,’’ he said.

Aliyu said that Niger government has made tremendous achievement in developing its agricultural sector by regenerating rice production, livestock and fisheries production toward food security of the nation.

It was gathered. that the seminar would provide various governments in the country how to improve their irrigation practice in line with the present the National Transformation Programme.

 

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