Stakeholders Urge Caution As FG Secures N1.165bn To Rehabilitate Obudu Dam.

In Politics
The Federal Government has approved the contract for the rehabilitation of Obudu
Dam, estimated to cost N1.165 billion. 

The ratification was done on  Wednesday 14th August 2012 at a meeting of the Federal
Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, minister of water
resources, Mrs. Stella Ochekpe, accompanied by her Information counterpart, Labaran
Maku, lamented that the dam, which has a storage capacity of 1.25 million cubic
meters, had been in an awful state, thereby affecting regional urban water supply in
some communities in the area.

She said a memo was raised and submitted to the Council to enable the government of
Cross River State embark on its regional urban water supply project, which will
cover four communities: Obudu, Ogoja, Ikom, and Calabar.

The state government, which raised a foreign loan seven years ago to reticulate the
regional water scheme, could not execute the project for rehabilitating the dam
under the World Bank Assisted Second National Urban Sector Reform Project.

When completed, the dam will facilitate the irrigation of about 100 hectares of
agricultural land, boost fisheries and promote tourism.

“The Cross River State government is carrying out a rehabilitation work in the water
sector. It is reforming its water sector but a source of raw water is needed and the
World Bank insists that the integrity of every dam to be used must be accessed,”
Ochekpe said.

“The Obudu Dam was accessed and it was discovered that it needed rehabilitation.
That was why they gave the note for rehabilitation work to be carried out. This
project will be financed 200 per cent by IDA credit.”

She further said, “The Cross River State government has, since 2005, gotten an
International Development Association (IDA) loan to develop the regional water
scheme that will meet the needs of these communities in Cross River.

“But because of the state of Obudu Dam, it has been impossible for that project to
commence. The contract was awarded at the cost of N1.165 billion.”

But stakeholders have urged those who are celebrating to be cautious. A source who
is also a lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Obudu who did not want to be
named warned that "since 2005 the Cross River State Government had secured a loan
under the International Development Agency through the  World Bank Assisted Urban
Reform Project but has been unable to do the rehabilitation of the dam and the
factors that have delayed the rehabilitation work for seven years have not been
addressed".

He called for "wider community involvement in the project particularly in
negotiating what will be the fate of communities from the environmental impact of
the project and other looses they will incur". He reminded Cross River Watch that
the last vestige of even tourist presence in the dam vanished after a young student
of the Federal College of Education where he is a lecturer drowned at the dam and
the inability of the community and the dam management to reach an amicable
resolution of  the issues arising there from.

For Mr. Frank Neku Ndoma, an activist, public affairs analyst and Coordinator, Ikom
Peoples Union in Lagos, "the people of Northern Cross River must realize that this
is not the first time huge sums are budgeted for projects in the state. They must
vigorously monitor the project to ensure they get value for money, don't also forget
that the federal government only stood surety for the state. It is Cross River State
that will repay the loan. If we don' monitor and make sure that the loan is well
spent, future generations will come and pay loans they never collected".

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