The alarm being raised by Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal is not a false one. When Lake Chad in Nigeria’s border with Chad and Niger started drying up, the jobs of an estimated 30million people whose means of livelihood depended on the lake also started going. Terrorist group Boko Haram emerged from that disaster, as jobless young men in the region became ready-made recruits for the insurgent group.
Tambuwal is afraid that 4million people from Sokoto and neighbouring Kebbi State may be left jobless and thirsty, and farming in the area will be affected adversely if the water level in Goroyo dam continued shrinking.
The dam, built in the early 1980s by the federal government then led by Shehu Shagari, a citizen of Sokoto, is the main source of water for irrigation as well as domestic purposes for the people of Sokoto and Kebbi.[Kebbi was created out of Sokoto in 1991.]
The Sokoto governor said: “The reservoir of Goronyo dam was constructed to hold one billion cubic meter of water, but as we’ve seen today the water in it is just about 100 million cubic meters. This has resulted in inadequate supply of water to our water board and, in effect, we had to resort to rationing water to the people. Our farmers are also suffering because the output from this year’s dry season farming will invariably be affected.”
The problem has been traced to climate change, failure to de-silt the dam and shortage of rainfall last year.
In 2012, the collapse of several dams in Cameroun and Nigeria led to flooding in states such as Kogi, Benue and Niger.