The Federal Government says it will pay adequate compensation to all communities whose lands were affected by the on-going construction of Dam measuring about Two Hundred and fifty metres and irrigation facility in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State and Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Kazaure stated this when he inspected the projects and interfaced with the affected members of the communities.
The visit by Malam Kazaure attracted the presence of Community leaders and farmers from Ukey and Okpanku in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State and four other villages in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Apart from coming to receive the Minister they also saw it as an opportunity to get firsthand information on plans by the Federal Government to compensate them on their crops and farmlands destroyed as a result of the ongoing construction of the dam.
The President General of Okpanku Community, Dr Julius Aja and his Ukey counterpart, Mr Nwagbara Chukwu appreciated the Federal government for siting the project in the area but emphasized that over one hundred thousand farmers were affected by a recent flood disaster triggered by the dam.
‘’It has created an island as a result of this dam’’
‘’My people are suffering untold hardship .so we want the Federal Government to pay us necessary compensation.’’
Speaking on behalf of affected villages in Ivo Local Government Area, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Uchenna Orji called on the Federal Government to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment of the project and accommodate the interest of the people.
‘’Our idea is that enumeration impact assessment must be done to factor in our own people.’’
Lending his voice to the demands of the communities, the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Kelechi Igwe said the project was intended to alleviate the sufferings of the people and enjoined the Federal government to take urgent action to resolve all pending issues to secure the cooperation of the farmers.
‘’We plead that as you go back Sir, you sit with your team and think on how to rescue this project and remedy the losses our people have incurred.’’
Malam Kazaure attributed the challenges facing the project to poor conceptualization but urged those whose crops and farmlands were damaged to exercise patience as actions would be taken to complete the project and pay necessary compensations.
‘’NO. 1, is to ensure that we look at the design again very critically and make sure right things are done.’’ NO. 2, We will ensure that everybody affected or is going to be affected is taken care of.’’
The project which was awarded in 2010 will serve three purposes of hydro power generation, irrigation and water supply.