The Federal Government of Nigeria has started the construction of embankments to protect the nation’s river bodies and minimize risks of flooding.

Director, Irrigation and Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr Elijah Aderibigbe, made this known in Abuja. He said that this became necessary to curtail water levels so as to prevent them from overshooting their boundaries. The overall goal is to prevent a build-up of water that could wreak havoc on the environment.

According to Aderibigbe, the construction of embankments would protect farmlands, farm produce and livelihoods, while enhancing the people’s well-being. He stated that the ministry had constructed a 32-kilometre dyke at Tada-Shonga Irrigation land in Edu Local Government Area, Kwara, with funds from national budgets and support from the Natural Resources Fund.

He noted that the Federal Government was interested in the protection of farmlands and would do everything possible to get all anti-flood projects completed.

“The Federal Government is making funds available to see that contractors return to site to ensure the full completion of the projects. Because if we don’t complete the works, floods can enter into farmlands and everything there could be destroyed; so, dykes are being constructed in those flood-prone areas.”

The Director also stated that Zauro Polder Irrigation Project in Kebbi was also being executed. He said that the ministry was activating all its departments, particularly in its efforts to impound water for water supply and irrigation purposes.

Aderibigbe stressed that some states were drained whenever there was excess water, while irrigation projects were undertaken when there was low water for crop growing. He, however, urged all Nigerians to take ownership of all water utilities in their neighborhoods, saying that the participatory irrigation approach would help to guarantee the sustainability of the irrigation projects. The water users associations had a vital role to play in the arrangement as well.