Communities, numbering over 40, in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State have threatened to sue and restrain the federal government from commissioning the Zungeru Dam.
Addressing journalists in Kuta, the headquarters of Shiroro Local Government Area, the communities under the umbrella of Coalition of Shiroro Association alleged that the federal government had not lived up to its promise of compensating the communities around the dam or begin resettlement plan.
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The communities also called for the renaming of the dam from Zungeru dam to Shiroro Dam II or Manta Dam, alleging that Zungeru was not the real host community of the project, while all pending compensations should be paid before the commissioning.
The spokesperson of the association, Salisu M Sabo Esq, said eight lives, especially that of children, have been lost in the affected communities due to unexpected water back wash that led to submerging of houses and loss of farm produce.
He said they received the news of the federal government’s readiness to commission the Zungeru dam project by December from the Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, while defending the 2022 budget of the ministry at the senate.
Sabo said it was a deliberate attempt to prevent the people of Shiroro from demanding their legitimate rights and further turn them into beggars in their own ancestral homes.
“Communities have lost their crops worth millions of naira that were already planted before preliminary blockage of the dam. This was as a result of the sudden release of water without notice,” he said.
The Chairman, Shiroro Local Government Area, Suleiman Dauda Chukuba, said the construction of the Zungeru dam had caused his people untold suffering ranging from loss of lives, houses and crops without any compensation.
“My people have suffered enough from insecurity. we cannot watch them suffering from the negligence of some people.
“The last time we spoke with HYPPADEC to assist in the affected Communities because they lost virtually all the crops they planted last raining season in addition to houses submerged due to water backwash.
“Yet nothing has been done. The local government is in support of them,” he said.