Sep 27, 2009

On the optimal use of Hadejia-Jama’are-Kamadugu-Yobe River Basin

The River Dilimi with its catchment on the Jos Plateau stretches through five other states in the northern part of Nigeria where it is variously known as Hadejia, Jama’are, Kamadugu and Yobe River. These five other states include Jigawa, Kano, Yobe, Borno and Bauchi. The river thus supports economic and domestic activities among hundreds of thousands of Nigerians.
Growing challenges resulting from population explosions and the consequent desire for economic activities to support the increasing population has further played up the significance of the river in the various states. This is also coming at a time when the nation’s authorities have devolved powers for generating electricity to the state governments. Some states could thus be considering building water barrier dams across the basin with the intention of generating hydro-electric energy. When this happens, the communities downstream would be prevented from getting access to the water anymore. Already the decision of the Bauchi State Government to build a dam across the basin at Keffin Madaki has resulted in a showdown between the state and the other four, downstream.

The world is indeed a small place. A Plateau man travelling upwards to the northern part of the country may fail to realize that the high velocity and explosive Hadejia River he sees at Kano and Jigawa is the slow and gentle river Dilimi he apparently left behind in Jos. It would be the reason why the river had become his refuse dump resulting in the people suffering all manner of water borne infections downstream as a result of his abuse of the river. At this time of dire need of additional megawatts of electricity, he may also be tempted to build a dam and broaden the irrigation opportunities of his brethren. These considerations informed the hosting of a capacity building workshop for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which was held at CRUDAN office at Sabon Barki in Jos-south Plateau State.

According to Sam Ishaya, the focal contact person for the Hadejia-Jama’are-Kamadugu-Yobe River Basin project for Plateau State, the aim of the capacity building for the CSOs is for them to in turn train communities with stakes in the river to play strategic and key roles in determining how the water resource is governed and where development project will be carried out, in a more transparent, environmentally friendly, cost effective and efficient manner. Already, there are the Fida, Chalawa and Hadejia dams along the basin. The sensitization will among other things teach approaches by which the demerits of these dams can be minimized as much as possible in addition to ensuring that additional dams are not built. The workshop thus has dam impacts within the basin, policy frameworks of the world commission on dams and water and energy policy advocacy as topics to be addressed during the workshop.

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