The Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said only the construction of a dam along the belt of the river Benue would stop the perennial flooding of the communities living along the bank of the river in the state.
The governor stated this at a two day re-orientation workshop organised by Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Kogi State Project Unit.
Bello, who was represented by the commissioner for environment, Rosemary Oshikoya, lamented the loss of lives and properties that was occasioned by the 2012 flood which affected the state.
He explained that Kogi state, because of its location and peculiarity needed than any other state in the country.
The governor, who described the geography, soil type and topography of the state as sensitive to flood and environmental challenges, said the federal government through NEWMAP should help the state develop technical abilities to tackle flooding usually witnessed by the state.
While noting that the state’s position as a melting point of all ecological issues, Bello called for proactive action even as it has taken steps to check desertification caused mostly by human activity.
The governor described the NEWMAP as the first intervention through which the state has received support for ecological support, said a holistic approach and intervention by the agency is what was needed to address erosion that is currently ravaging the state.
The state governor solicited the intervention of the federal government in the area of capacity building, improved sources of funding to check ecological problems affecting the state.
The governor commended NEWMAP for the workshop, saying that the outcome would no doubt help improve human understanding on the issues of ecology the state is battling with and proffer solutions on how to handle them.
The national coordinator of NEWMAP, Alh Salisu Dahiru, said attention was already on to construct a dam on the belt of the River Benue, adding that the move was aimed at reducing inflow of the river into the confluence.
The National Coordinator said attention is ongoing on issue of value chain that will help reduce through a dam the quantity of water available in the Benue River towards reducing effect of flooding affecting the state.
He noted that Kogi state was among the 18 participating states under NEWMAP that would access funds that would aid in the reduction of vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted sub watershed.
He added that the agency is also saddled with the responsibility of reducing siltation and to also restore vegetative cover and in watershed management amongst others.
The state Project Coordinator, NEWMAP, Ladi Jatto, who described environmental challenge as clearly beyond government owing to huge capital outlay, commended the federal government partnership on the issue.
The state coordinator said the presence of the river Niger and Benue, the states topography and loose soil, wreaks serious havoc in the state, said no amount of intervention is too much to save the state from the menace of environmental degradation.