After years of devastation, succour has come the way of communities in Sokoto ravaged by erosion.
Against the backdrop of the ruin in 10 communities, the World Bank funded project, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) is to tackle the menace in the state.
The 10 project sites include Lugu Dam, Durbawa, Tudun Wada, Rafin Dum, Zalla Bango-Yarbulutu-Gajit, Tambuwal, Sakkwai, Sifawa, Goronyo and Tureta.
NEWMAP Sokoto State Project Coordinator, Ibrahim Umar, said very soon a team of experts would commence the engineering design of the respective works to be implemented.
Umar explained that on Lugu Dam/Irrigation Scheme in Wurno Local Government Area of the state which had been put off service following the collapse of its spiel way in 2010 when the state recorded a devastating flood, NEWMAP intends to revive, reconstruct and rehabilitate the whole irrigation scheme along with the entire dam structures.
“This is with the aim of bringing back agricultural activities. Over 3,000 farmers were gainfully employed under the scheme but as I speak now, they are out of work because Lugu Dam can no longer hold water for agricultural activities,” he stated.
Other areas the project would intervene, he said, are in river bank erosion control and urban flood redress.
“The project would intervene to address the problem of river bank erosion in the village of Sabon Birni Local Government. Here in Sokoto metropolis, Sokoto South, the project would also intervene to address the urban flood issues,” he said, adding that there would be massive construction of drainages to alleviate the urban flood problem that affects Mabera and some parts of Tudun Wada.
In Kware Local Government, the NEWMAP coordinator said the project would intervene in Durbawa, a town that is known for its massive erosion gullies.
“The project would try to address this massive erosion problem so that water would have easy way out of the town,” Umar said.
For Rafin Duma in Gada Local Government where there is severe scarcity of water following destruction of the earth dam, he said NEWMAP intends to reconstruct the earth dam to improve the water situation.
“We are not saying that when we resuscitate the dam, people will start taking water from the dam, no, it has an indirect effect of recharging the underground water so that when they dig wells, they can get water, it’s just to serve as a means of recharging the underground water in the vicinity.
For Sakkwai in Tangaza Local Government, known to suffer heavy floods, the project coordinator revealed that the entire community would be resettled to a safer location.
“We would select a higher ground that they would safely live, and the flood water would be put in a better way of utilization,” he explained.
For Lumbar Tureta, Sifawa and Tambuwal erosion sites, he stated that NEWMAP would execute similar interventions, where earth dams would be constructed and drainages to channel water into earth dam.
Umar, who noted that community engagement is part of the first phase of the project, said beneficiaries would be enlightened on the project ownership and provided with poverty alleviation grants to enable them have alternative means of livelihood.
While expressing the commitment of NEWMAP towards delivering excellent work, he underscored the commitment of the state governor to the project, adding that the state government had paid its counterpart funds of over N1billlion for the implementation of the work.
The Chief Executive, Centre for Advocacy, Ibrahim Abdullahi Shuni, engaged for the community engagement exercise, said they intended to visit the project sites and identify communities that would be affected by the projects in the 10 sites.
“In each of the communities, we are looking at factors such as population and closeness in terms of the project site to form community associations,” he said.
Shuni, however, said they were waiting for other processes to be put in place by NEWMAP, such as engineering design and resettlement action plan.