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Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, on Wednesday, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to rehabilitate the Middle-Ogun Irrigation Project in Oyo State.
A statement by Mrs. Margaret Umoh, the ministry’s Director of Press, in Abuja, said that the minister made the pledge when he inspected the irrigation facilities at Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State.
Adamu: “I am very sad about the state of the project.
“However, in line with the ministry’s roadmap for completing ongoing projects, the project will be resuscitated by the Federal Government through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“Also, government will get the project connected to the national grid for easy access to power supply.
“We need to get our irrigation projects working because the policy drive of the present administration is on food security through all year-round farming.
“So, we need to revitalise the irrigation projects that are not working and expand those that are working,” he said.
The minister said that the ministry was committed to stimulating all year-round farming in the country so as to meet the goals of the Federal Government on food security.
He said that the Irrigation Project, whose contract was awarded in December 1990 with a completion period of 30 months, was conceived to have 12, 000 hectares of irrigable land which would serve the people of Oyo and Iseyin communities in Oyo State.
According to him, only 680 hectares, out of the 12,000 irrigable land have so far been developed due to some operational challenges.
Adamu said that the challenges included the high cost of diesel to fuel the generators, the non-linkage of the system to the national grid, the lack of cooperation from farmers and funding constraints, among others.
He called on the communities where the third phase of the project was located to make their land accessible, as the project would benefit them economically.
The minister had earlier paid courtesy calls on the two traditional leaders in the neighbourhood — the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba AbdulGaniyu Salau.
The Alaafin commended the Federal Government for its decision to complete some abandoned water projects in the state.
He said that the vision of the originators of the projects would not be in vain as the Federal Government was now desirous of revitalising them.
He promised to talk to the community’s farmers to cooperate with the Ogun- Osun River Basin Development Authority and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources by giving them access to their land for irrigation purposes.
While thanking the Federal Government for funding the Oyo Regional Water Scheme at Erelu, Oyo, Adeyemi urged the government to complete the project in good time in order to boost water supply to the people. (NAN)