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House of Representatives yesterday charged its Committee on Water Resources to interface with the Ministry of Water Resources to audit the Ivo Dam project contract performance linking Ebonyi and Enugu State and complete the project.
The call followed the consideration of a motion titled ‘Need to Complete the IVO Dam Project in Ebonyi and Enugu States‘ moved at the plenary by Hon. Makwe Livinus Makwe.
Presenting the motion, Makwe recalled that in 2014, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources contracted the construction of Ivo Dam at the confluence of Ivo and Ikeh rivers border of Ivo Local Government Area, Ebonyi State and Aninri Local Government Area, Enugu State to Messrs Anbeez Services Nigeria Limited.
He noted that while Mpu and Okpanku communities of Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State were downstream of the dam, Ngwogwo, Amaokwe, Okue and Amaeke communities of Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area were on the upstream side.
He said: ‘The Federal Government specifically embarked on the construction of the Dam project for irrigation farming, fishery and electricity generation in the interest of communities in Ebonyi and Enugu States who are predominantly agrarian farmers to encourage the cultivation of edible and industrial crops, food processing, and agro-allied businesses and marketing of farm products.
‘Though the construction of the Dam has attained an advanced stage, the project was abandoned on account of lack of funds, resulting in the impounding of water at the upstream side, especially during the rainy seasons.
‘The abandonment of the project without the spillway in place, farmlands and rural settlements in the upstream communities of Ngwogwo, Amaokwe, Okue, and Amaeke communities are inundated and sacked by the flood. Until the abandonment of the project, these communities have never been flooded and sacked by water since the ages’.
Makwe expressed concern that with the abandonment of the Dam embankment Project without the spillway, over 40,000 acres of arable farmlands and rural settlements have remained permanently flooded, given that during the rainy seasons, the embankment itself aggravates the flood, which he said gets higher and spreads to inland communities with great velocity, thus, sacking the rural dwellers, destroying farmlands and rendering over 10,000 families homeless with no source of income, given that farming is their main source of livelihood.
He said that since the abandonment of the project, the flood has become a menace and death trap to the hapless farmers, especially during the rainy season, as they resorted to using improvised canoes to access their faraway farmlands and in the process gets drowned.
‘On November 15, 2020 Mrs Udu Ajah got drowned and Mr Roland Ajah Orji and Mr Ivoke Ajah Victor lost their lives to the flood on 8 December 2020, while returning from their distant farms, using a locally made canoe. Similarly, on December, 20, 2020, Mr Cletus Okorie died in the same dam flood, more scores of death were recorded between 2020 and 2022.
‘The affected communities have written severally to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to come to their aid but to no avail, NEMA personnel visited the site on few occasions, to access the situation and later made deliveries of relief materials, only Mpu and Okpanku Communities in Enugu State benefited, while Ngwogwo, Amaokwe, Okue and Amaeke communities of Ivo Local Government Area in Ebonyi State were worst affected and neglected.
‘The need for the Federal Government to urgently review the circumstances surrounding the non-completion of the Ivo Dam project as envisaged and prevent disasters and loss of lives and properties’, he said.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately intervene in the predicament of Ngwogwo, Amaokwe, Okue and Amaeke Communities of Ivo Local Government Area, Ebonyi State and provide relief materials, shelter and alternative means of livelihood, pending the completion of the Ivo dam.
It also mandated the Committees on Water Resources and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to ensure compliance with the resolution.