I feel compelled to write and draw the attention of the federal government on the issue of dredging the River Benue in the North East which is giving a lot of concern and seem to be neglected by the federal government. The River Benue has its origins in the Adamawa Plateau of Northern Cameroon. The Lagdo Dam, a 40m high dam, has been built across the river about 50km upstream of Garoua, a major town on the river in Northern Cameroon. The water releases from this dam has continued to create floods in Cameroon and in Nigeria over the years and the resulting devastation reached all the way to the Niger Delta in Nigeria during 2012. Two major tributaries, River Mayo Kebi and River Faro, join the Benue in Northern Cameroon downstream of the Lagdo Dam; coming down to Numan where there is a confluence of both River Gongola and River Benue. I am sure not many people know about River Gongola. Let me explain briefly before returning to my main subject.
Gongola River, principal tributary of the Benue River, northeastern Nigeria. It rises in several branches (including the Lere and Maijuju rivers) on the eastern slopes of the Jos Plateau and cascades (with several scenic waterfalls) onto the plains of the Gongola Basin, where it follows a northeasterly course. It then flows past Nafada and takes an abrupt turn toward the south. Its lower course veers to the southeast, and, after receiving the Hawal (its chief tributary, which rises on the Biu Plateau), it continues in a southerly direction before joining the Benue, opposite the town of Numan, after a journey of 330 miles (531 km). During the dry season, however, the upper Gongola and many of the river’s tributaries practically disappear, and even the lower course becomes un-navigable.
Almost all of the Gongola Basin lies in a dry savanna area. The basin has been enlarged by the Gongola’s capture of several rivers that formerly flowed to Lake Chad; the sharp southerly bend east of Nafada is the result of the capture of the upper Gongola, and the Gungeru, another tributary from the Biu Plateau, is also a captured stream (Encyclopedia Britannica). That is the little about River Gongola, now back to my main subject matter:
In the 1970’s ships used to stop over in Numan near the bridge to offload goods and to convey cotton, groundnuts and other valuable goods, but as the river started diminishing by the day, it was no longer feasible for ships to pass that route. The reason is that the waters are shallow and cannot allow the ships to pass hence the stoppage. This development has hampered a lot of economic activities within the stipulated area (Numan) and it’s not a good development. Now the purpose of this write up is to draw the attention of the federal government through the Adamawa State government to as a matter of urgency consider the option of dredging the River Benue; this, I believe will benefit the state and the country as a whole I will try as much as possible to enumerate briefly some of the benefits in this write-up.
Benefits of Dredging the Benue River
- It will boost economic activities in the area which in turn will boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State and the nation as a whole and will also give employment to so many which will reduce unemployment and overdependence on government.
- It will Boost agricultural activities in the area: The Benue valley is always ever green and fertile; farmers in this area will take advantage of the river to do irrigation farming which will boost food production
- It will reduce the amount the government uses in settling and alleviating the suffering of the people whose property are destroyed almost every year as a result of flood. If the river is dredged, there won’t be any need for flooding of the river because it will gain a new depth.
- The government can also take advantage of the confluence and install turbines with a view to generate electricity to give to the state and other neighboring states.
- The sand fetched from the river can still be sold which in turn will bring in more revenue.
These are few benefits of dredging the river Benue which I believe if the government can take a look at this critically and do it, it will benefit both the people and the government and this will make Nigeria great again. With this, I wish to passionately call on the Adamawa State Government to look into these issues critically and to draw the attention of the federal government with the view to leverage on the opportunities this has to offer so that many will be gainfully employed both directly and indirectly. There are more benefits but I just mentioned few of the benefits for the attention of the government.