Thursday, January 23, 2014

Are Dams causing solutions or challenges to rural communities? Keta villagers’ question

Mamadou Edrisa Njie reporting from Goronyo, Sokoto state, Nigeria #WalktoMali

The Goronyo Dam
It was completed in 1984 and commissioned in 1992, the Goronyo dam, which today has been causing flooding to the local community of Keta a small village under Goronyo local government, Sokoto state, Nigeria- says Alhagie Garba Jingilma village head.

Given background information of the dam, Jingilma who is in his 80’s said that Dams and reservoirs in Nigeria are used for irrigation, water supply, hydro-electric power generation or some combination adding that they are of particular importance in the north of the country, where rainfall is low. 

Jingilma was speaking today [ 21st January, 2014] with Earth Hour Nigeria #WalktoMali champions whose names are written in gold on Earth Hour website. 

 In his village, he said things are turning the other way round, "Gonyoro Dam is causing flooding since 2010 to date noting that during raining season, they loss their crop produce due to flooding."

The Goronyo Dam impounds the Rima River in Goronyo local government area of Sokoto State in the north of Nigeria. The dam is a sand-fill structure with a height of 21 m and a total length of 12.5 km.

In late August 2010, to be precise, he stated that rainstorms caused the dam to fill to dangerous levels which has caused major flooding in the downstream village of Kagara-nearby village.

“The storm that caused the flooding may be part of a climate change pattern, according to his own understanding, with rising temperatures and more intense rainfall in the rainy season,” he explained.

He asked- Are Dams constructed in Nigeria to cause flooding or to supply us with irrigation or water supply?  He seeks an answer.

When asked by Earth Hour Nigeria team #Walktomali champions whether villagers have benefitted or received support from the Federal, State and Local government, he responded in negative saying that that they have never been or given any assistance/support been the government or any other humanitarian organisations.

He went on to explained that they have been making request for support for the past three years but still no respond from the government[s] or humanitarian organisations since 2010.

Earth Hour Nigeria launched #WalktoMali which will take 12 champions through 7 West Africa countries; make them reach 1,500 children, 7 humanitarian camps, 5 Landmarks, 14 Local communities and 6 UNESCO Heritage sites and 7 local radio station. [Consequently, making us to reach about 100 million in West Africa] 
Earth Hour Nigeria Country Director, Oludotun Babayemi Mapping
Earth Hour Nigeria Country Director, Mr. Oludotun Babayemi has this to say “As we believe that there is a connection between Environmental Sustainability, [especially with respect to Climate Change] and Peace. Because of the shrinking of community resources caused by Climate Change, citizens tend to move to places where resources are still available, thus leading to conflict. Much of these have been witnessed in some West African Countries.”

Earth Hour Nigeria is doing participatory community Live Mapping to help put this communities on Google map and put in place disaster risk reduction emergency respond teams in selected West African countries to work directly with rural communities.   

Alhagie Sarikin Gabas, district head Goronyo local government speaking with Earth Team in his Palace confirmed that the area has been witnessing flooding and water erosion for many years.

Alhagie Sarikin Gabas posed with Earth Hour Champions
“Flooding has caused us to lose Billions of Naira. Goronyo is a farming community and is one of the highest yields similar to Canada; we produce three (3) tones per hectre and the community is engage in farming.”

Hear him: “Our every Sunday market, we load 100 trucks full of onions, garlic, paper, cassava, corn etc to other parts of Nigeria and the neighboring countries.”

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