*Senate tasks FG on River Niger’s incessant boat mishaps
By Mofoluwake Omololu, Abuja.
40 years after many communities were asked to give way for the building of Kainji Dam for the country’s electricity needsthey appear to have been abandoned, at least that is what two Senators from Kebbi Senators told their colleagues last Thursday
Worried by the incessant boat mishaps on River Niger, the Senate urged the federal government to immediately conduct a survey into the stretch of the rings ver in the area with a view to putting safe navigational aid in place.
The upper legislative chamber, which gave the charge following a motion titled, “Incessant boat mishap and loss of lives in the Yauri end of River Niger; urgent need for federal government’s intervention,” by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South), specifically directed the Ministry of Transportation through the National Inland Waterways Authority to urgently step into action on the matter.
It also urged the federal government to assist the communities in blasting the big stones and cutting the big trees in the river that hinders safe navigation around the area as well as give them relief materials in order to cushion the effect of the disaster.
Similarly, it enjoined the government to assist the communities with modern 50-seater boats so as to alleviate their transportation needs.
“The Senate is aware that these same communities were the very communities resettled by the then Northern Regional Government in order to build the current Kainji Dam to provide electricity for the country,” he said.
Na’Allah, who is the Deputy Senate Leader, added that the upper legislative chamber was disturbed that despite this development, which has become an annual unfortunate occurrence, nothing has been done to prevent its incessant re-occurrence.
In his contribution, Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central), stressed the need for the federal government to intervene in preventing boat mishaps on the River Niger and as well resettle communities along the river, among other steps that would make life bearable for the people.
Aliero informed that the Kainji Dam was not only constructed to provide electricity, but also water for irrigation to boost farming in the area.
He, however, expressed sadness that 40 years after the communities were resettled by the then Northern Regional Government, they are yet to be rehabilitated by successive administrations.