Ugo Nosiri, Owerri
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation says it will pay greater attention to the expansion of irrigation development and reactivating the existing moribund river basins to tackle food security.
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Utsev, stated this at the end of familiarisation tour with the members and management staff of Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority in Owerri.
The minister disclosed that the Federal Government will explore means of reviving the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project LAIP, which is the single largest rice irrigation project in the South-East with huge potentials in food security.
According to him, the Federal Government has approved the partial commercialisation of 12 River Basin Development Authority towards making them sustainable and to attract investors.
“My ministry will concentrate on the following key aspect. 1. Implementing water management and irrigation projects to ensure stable and increased food production to feed the nation 2. Utilising water resources and sanitation infrastructure to grow the economy, creates jobs, alleviate poverty and improve living standards of our people. 3. Ensuring equitable access to water and sanitation facilities with special attention to the underprivileged.”
Professor Utsev Commended the management and staff of River Basin for their achievement while urging them to upscaling the productive activities especially in the areas of comparative advantages such as Palm production and cultivation of tubers.
He charged them to take adequate care of the facilities and promised to tackle their challenges as well as instituting award for best performing staff of River Basins in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address the Managing Director Anambra River Basin Development Authority, Mr. Gerald Osuagwu, called on the minister not to relent in ensuring that the programmes of Mr President are achieved.
He thanked the minister for making out time to visit the facilities and maintain that the river basin was poised to support him to actualise his set goals in office.
“The River Basin is poised and ready to assist the current minister in achieving the set goals of moving water and sanitation ministry to an enviable height.”
Also speaking, the chairman, Agric and Allied Union of Nigeria, Comrade Nwabueze Ibeleme, congratulated the minister on his appointment and pledged to work with him.
He appealed to the water resources minister, Joseph Utsev, to create more River Basins in South-East to meet up with other zones in the country, and look into recruitment and appointment of Directors stressing that South-East were lacking behind.
The Highlights of the visit were seed planting, three planting, visit to water and oil mill factory. Others were inspections to the fish and chicken poultry, grass cutter reproduction room, goats and cattle ranch among others.
The tour attracted a warm reception by the host communities and women in agriculture.