Prof. Paul Marley, Managing Director of Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority on Tuesday said Nigeria’s river basins had become shadows of their old selves due to poor funding.
Marley made the remark when members of the authority’s board of directors met with the staff in Kaduna.
He said there was urgent need to revive the river basins infrastructure, for best agricultural practices. “Most river basin instruments that would have improved our economy were abandoned while some were sold to interested private individuals.
“There cannot be agricultural development without water. We take water for granted in Nigeria and this is contributing to poor agricultural production,” Marley said.
He urged the Federal Government to improve the funding of river basins across the country, to engender growth in the agriculture sector.
On the activities of the body in Kaduna State, Marley said it was handling “eight small dams, one medium hard dam, two constituency projects for provision of water and the Galma multipurpose dam”.
“Kaduna State has an opportunity to lead the river basin projects in Nigeria but insufficient funding was a major bottleneck, “he said.
Marley called for partnership with the private sector in developing river basin infrastructure, as “the nature of the national budget cannot move the authorities forward”.
In his response, Chairman of the board, Dr Sam Ode assured the staff that the new board would move the authority forward.
He, therefore, urged them to give their maximum cooperation to make things work.’ We are a two-way communication board, we will embrace communication as long as it goes through appropriate channel”, he told the staff. Ode stressed that agriculture must take the front line in Nigeria’s economy, adding that “this is going to be our policy mandate”.