Dam: Communities rue losses, demand compensation

Three communities in Ebonyi and Enugu states whose land was acquired by the Federal Government to build a dam seven years ago have protested the non-payment of compensation to them.

The communities are Ishiagu in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi, and Ukey and Okpanku in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu.

The communities said they have been thrown into suffering by the loss of the farmlands.

According to them, the construction of the dam caused artificial flooding of their respective communities and farmlands last year and destroyed crops and other properties worth millions of naira.

They spoke when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Kazaure, paid an inspection visit to the dam site on Tuesday.

The multi-purpose dam is being built over the Ivo River for irrigation, water supply and power generation.

In a welcome address by Ukey Autonomous Community presented by Nwagbara Patrick, the community said they were in support of the construction of the dam but called for adequate compensation to people who lost crops, land and other properties.

“It is imperative to bring to your notice that the enumerated crops have not been paid for, we solicit for your intervention in this regard”, he said.

“This land acquired by the Federal Government for this project is the communities’ major source of livelihood and since it has been taken away, they have nothing to sustain themselves again. We appeal to you to come to their aid by paying some amount to individuals or community monthly.

“The community is also using this platform to bring to your notice that many buildings along the road leading to the dam were destroyed without compensation. We therefore appeal to you to intervene on the matter.

“The community is requesting for a standard hospital due to the possible outbreak of different diseases as a result of siting the dam.”

Uchenna Orji, who spoke on behalf of Ishiagu community, called for adequate compensation for the people promising that the community will be peaceful in their agitation for their rights.

Stating that the community was not consulted before the siting of the dam, Mr. Orji called for an environmental impact assessment to be carried out in the area before moving forward with the construction of the dam.

Julius Aja, President General of Okpanku Community Town Union said over 100,000 persons from his community were affected.

He called for the construction of a bridge to enable the villagers access their farmlands which have been cut off by the artificial flooding caused by the dam.

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