Managing director, Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, has said the dredging of River Niger, River Benue, and River Kaduna to check perennial flooding in affected areas will cost over $20 billion.
He stated this on Thursday at the 2023 stakeholders meeting on flood mitigation and other related issues held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Yelwa said the clamour by Nigerians for the dredging of the affected rivers will be difficult for the federal government to handle without intervention from international donor agencies.
The HYPPADEC boss said the estimated cost for dredging of the rivers as at 1983 when the federal government asked for the cost was $2billion, adding that the cost had astronomically gone up over 10 times.
Yelwa, who was responding to suggestions from participants for the dredging as part of solutions to the annual flood disaster affecting riverine communities under the commission’s areas of focus, said the funding of the project was beyond the commission and the federal government.
“The dredging of River Niger or Benue, as the case may be, has always been repeatedly suggested in all the places we have visited. We have visited about five states including Kwara; almost all the states were asking for dredging.
“In 1983 when the former Shehu Shagari government asked for the cost of dredging of River Niger, Benue and Kaduna, a bill of $2billion was given. That was in 1983. You can imagine the scope now; even if the dollar had remained the same, the scope would have gone up 10 times. That is why it is difficult.
“It is not what HYPPADEC or the federal government can fund without making recourse to international organisations for intervention.
“And that is what we are working towards to mobilise international donor agencies for intervention”.
To mitigate 2023 flood prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Yelwa said the commission would embark on an afforestation programme, adding that trees would be planted in five hectares of land in each of the five local government areas in Kwara North senatorial district, being a flood-prone area of the state.