28th June, 2011
The Federal Government has flagged off the construction of N3.3 billion Qua Falls dam project in Akamkpa Local Government Area, Cross River Sate which marks its resolve in ensuring rural transformation through its multipurpose use for water supply, food production, hydroelectric power generation, tourism, employment creation and food security.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Amb.(Dr.) Godknows Igali during the ceremony, the dam is designed to supply water to several communities and irrigate about 500 hectares of farmlands downstream of the dam as well as generate hydroelectric power.
He added that the design consists of construction of an earth fill embankment dam of 26 metre high and 530 metre long, reservoir with capacity for storing 68 million cubic metres of raw water and hydropower component of about 16 megawatts (MW) with a potential of 36 mega watts when Ikpan Dam is constructed and connected through a diversion canal of approximately 4.3 kilometre long.
Igali said the project which is expected to be completed in 24 months with a 12-month maintenance period, is one of the biggest projects to be executed by the Federal Government in the State, adding that it has a multiplier effect and as such calls for community participation while appealing to all to cooperate with the contractors and government to ensure its success.
â€œI urge you to view this project as belonging to you and to support its construction as this will employ local labour, empower them and boost the overall rural economy. Therefore, we solicit the cooperation of all stakeholders including the elders, the youth to provide a conducive environment for the construction exercise,â€ he said.
He commended the efforts of Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, the immediate past Chairman of Senate Committee on Water Resources, in attracting the project to the state, which is the first major hydropower project to be located in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country.
The stateâ€™s Governor Senator Liyel Imoke said the flag off is an indication that the voices of the people of the state have been heard and the people of Akamkpa Local Government Area could lookward to a better future because of the tremendous benefits and the multiplier effect which the project have on the people, adding that it is a new dawn for the community because it is a project that they had looked forward to having for many years.
Imoke commended the efforts of Senator Henshaw and the management of Ministry of Water Resources in the development of the state, stressing that the state takes cognizance of its tourism potentials because its completion will have a multiplier effect like steady electricity provision while the activities of the 27 quarries in the area will be enhanced as well as that of UNICEM which currently depends solely on its generating plants.
The governor called on the community to cooperate with the contractor and adhere to the peaceful reputation which the state is noted for, while assuring the contractor that there will be no form of youth restiveness in the area and enjoined the locals to key into the project from the day of the flag-off.
He explained that the dam project is one which keys into the programme of the state to develop its people with emphasis on rural areas, adding that the project has the potential to move the state’s economy from agricultural to an industrial economy when its full potentials are realised.
Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw in a remark, commended the State Government for the support which the project he conceived has received which was initiated between 2009 and 2011 to complement the effort of the state government, adding that other projects initiated by him are located in Eniong Creek in Odukpani, Biase, and Akpabuyo LGAs.
Henshaw stated that the projects will remain as legacies to bequeath to the future generation and that concerted efforts should be made by those involved to complete them.
Dr. Emmanuel Adam, Dam Director, Ministry of Water Resources in an overview, said it is important thing that the state has not enjoyed a dam project before though the desire has always been there, explaining that they received a directive from President Goodluck Jonathan to look for sites and provide dams that are beneficial to the people.
Adam appealed to the state, local government and the community to own and protect the project as the Federal Government is committed to ensure it is successful, adding that youths should see themselves as beneficiaries of the project which they intend to monitor regularly.
A community leader and clerk of the State House of Assembly, Ntufam John Okon, expressed the delight of the people and said when the idea of the project was first discussed, he thought it was a political gimmick to deceive them, adding that the falls is Godâ€™s gift to them and they stand to enjoy its potentials.
Okon assured that the people are peaceful and appealed to the contractor to employ the locals in its labour force.
The Chairman of Akamkpa Local Government Area, Mr. Dennis Nkiri said the council intends to continually provide the necessary support as would be required of it, and reaffirmed its determination to ensure that the company enjoys a serene and rancour-free atmosphere throughout the course of its work.
ByÂ Emma Una/Calabar