- Cross River State Government is seeking the support and cooperation of the Federal Government to construct dams in order to achieve a viable agro sector as well as sustaining it’s industrialization drive.
Governor Ben Ayade solicited the support Wednesday, in Calabar when he received the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Comfort Ekaro who is on her maiden tour of Nigeria’s 12 basin development authorities in his office in Calabar, where he pointed out that water remains a vital component in the planning of the state’s development.
“There is a relationship between water abundance and hospitality. If you don’t have adequate water, you can’t provide that kind of hospitality that is expected. Cross River is the cleanest and the neatest state and you can’t do that in the absence of water,” Ayade said.
On the value the development of water resources will add to the state, the governor disclosed: “Cross River is participating under the accelerated agric development program, we are also actively involved in so many value chains particularly maize, yellow maize, soya bean; we are doing cocoa, we are doing banana and we are doing rice.
“We have built industries that will give full start-to-end process application and value addition. We have the cocoa processing plant in Ikom, we have the vitaminized rice processing mill in Ogoja, we have the seed and seedling factory and we have an ultramodern feed mill that will require so much of soya bean and then we have the integrated poultry. In all of these, we can’t sustain the massive requirement of maize, soya bean, and rice to feed our industries without dams, without irrigation. Obviously Cross River State is blessed; you have to cross a river to get to almost everywhere.”
Ayade who also stressed the need for “a relationship with the ministry of water resources that is deeper than mere politics,” lamented the peculiarities of the state’s demography which he said required special attention.
“All the indices on the demography prove that Cross River State is in critical need of the federal government attention. Unfortunately, what has happened is that social reverse stoichiometry is the one in place. The smaller and more compact you are, the more resources you have, the more money you get which negates the African theory of providing a shoulder for a weaker partner and brother to lean on. Cross River State is almost on its knees,” Ayade said and solicited the country’s budget to be subjected to geographical sensitivity analysis in order to ensure a fair distribution of resources.
Cross River currently leads in the comity of States implementing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) action plans with five local government areas declared Open Defecation Free so far.
Mrs. Ekaro, in her remarks solicited the state’s support in the provision of clean, safe and potable water for residents as well as sustaining the gains on sanitation.
“You have already supported (but), we need more so that we can have good sanitation, we have toilets everywhere so that people don’t go defecating outside and you know the problem associated with that-girls are pressed late in the night and they have to go out, they could be raped; even with men, there could be snakes around and somebody had been bitten by a snake. There was a report and of course, he died from there- just trying to defecate outside,” she said.
Ekaro, while hinting that this was her first point of call outside her office since her resumption as permanent secretary in February, commended the giant strides made by the Ayade’s administration, describing them as “mind blowing.”