Dr. Ado Khalid Abdullahi, the Managing Director of Hadeja Jama’are River Basin Authority (H.JRBDA ) is a scholar who spent about 9 years lecturing at the university, where he earned his PhD, later he moved to the banking sector where he worked for five consecutive years. In the civil service, he spent about 20 years, where he rose to the position of a director at the Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC). In this parley with Blueprint’s Achievers Profile, he narrated how he strive hard and succeeded in modernizing and boosting agricultural services in his present position.
Tell us about yourself.
I am grateful to Almighty Allah, as right from my NYSC mandatory national service days, I yearned to secure employment at Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority. This is because it was the pride of every agricultural science and engineering graduates to take up appointment with H.JRBDA. Allah in his infinite mercy helped me realized my dream, as I was employed in Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority immediately after my service, where I had a stint for a period of one year, that is from 1979 to 1980. From there I moved to the university.
Within that one year of my stay at Hadeja Jama’are River Basin Development Authority, I learnt about a lot of agricultural development projects carried out by the authority. And at that period we had bulldozers, tractors and combine harvesters that were being used as money making machineries for the authority. During that period tractors, fertilizers, seedlings and fertilizers were sold to the farmers at a subsidized rate. Also Agricultural Extension services were provided to the farmers free of charge.
On assumption of duty, I discovered that we are going back to square one. This is because agricultural services generate income into the coffers of government. But later on water resources ministry took over the activities of the river basin authority. Hence, the river basins were made to handle only water supply, owing to which Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority was made to stop agricultural services
In fact, when I got an appointment as the Managing Director of Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority, I discovered that what is actually on the ground is entirely different from what was obtained before. And I strive hard to actualized my mission based on the Buhari’s administration’s determination to turn agriculture into a viable economic venture.
Historical antecedent of H.JRBDA
Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (H.JRBDA) came into being in the year 1976 along with 10 other River Basin Development Authorities by the Federal Government of Nigeria under Decree 25. As at now the authority has the largest functional irrigation schemes among the 12 River Basin Development Authorities in the country.
H.JRBDA covers an area of 45,000 km square, which include the whole of Kano and Jigawa states, and about two-thirds of Bauchi state. The area under the authority’s coverage is known to have an irrigation development potential of about 240,000 hectares within the valleys of Hadejia and Jama’are Rivers. And it is saddled with the responsibility of developing the surface and underground water resources for irrigated agriculture, water supply and other domestic uses within its catchment areas.
However, the sole mechanism aimed at operating and maintaining various water infrastructures to improve the living standards of rural communities, hence it includes:
Tiga dam and Ruwan Kanya Reservoir; Challawa Gorge Dam; Galala Dam; Hadejia Barrage; Kano River Irrigation, Phase 1 & II; Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project, Phase I & II; Galala Irrigation Project; Kafin Zaki Dam Project; Katagum Irrigation Project; Challawa Karaye Irrigation Scheme; Jama’are Valley Irrigation Project; Wudil Pilot Irrigation Scheme.
Major challenges faced by the authority
As I stated earlier, when I came back to Hadejia Jama’ar River Basin Authority, I discovered that virtually all the agricultural services rendered by the authority were no longer as it was before. Thus, we faced the challenge of reviving agricultural services, most especially irrigation farming which is directly associated with water resources we are managing.
However, the major setbacks were low performance of its dams and irrigation schemes due to dilapidation of infrastructure that gave rise to malfunctioning and damaged dam outlets and erosion of dam embankments leading to inadequate water releases; Lost of irrigation command of about 5,000 hectares of the developed irrigation area; Invasion of major irrigation canal and reservoirs by typha grass and other devastating weeds which leads to low performance; Low crop productivity due to inadequate water supply in some areas; and lack of irrigation area expansion suitable for the creation of jobs.
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