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Kagara Dam Project Jinxed - Shagari
From Jide Orintunsin in Minna

Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development, Alhaji Mukhtar Shagari, has declared that the multi-million naira Kagara Dam, initiated since 1981, may be jinxed for non-approval of budgetary allocation.

He made this disclosure yesterday, while presenting 500 hand pumps and accessories from the Federal Government to the Niger State Governor, Abdulkadir Kure, in Minna.

According to the minister, the project has suffered year-in-year-out non-approval of budgetary estimate for its completion, and "unless the National Assembly approves our budget for the project, I am afraid the project may be jinxed."

He called on Governor Kure, in whose state the project is situated, to appeal to the state representatives at the National Assembly, to persuade their colleagues, and ensure the passage of budgetary estimate for the project.

He said "each time I make proposal in the budget for the project, the approval given was nothing," citing the 2004 approval where he proposed N250 million, but had paltry N20 million approved.

"Mr Governor, you have to speak to members of the National Assembly from this state to influence allocation for the project, if it must be completed and not tagged jinxed," he said.

Shagari exonerated contractor handling the project of in-action, and told the governor that he was not comfortable and happy about the state of the project state's.

He said his ministry has made another provision of N179 million for the project in the supplementary budget, "hence the need for your representatives at the National Assembly to help see the proposal through."

Aside from the 500 pumps, Shagari said another N470 million contract for provision of rural water supply for Niger State would be signed in two weeks.

He said both the Federal Government and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are committed to providing potable water to the electorates, as promised during the electioneering campaign.

Responding, Kure assured the minister of getting members of the National Assembly from the state to influence the budget, while he commended the Federal Government efforts at ensuring that rural dwellers are provided with potable water.

He then urged the Federal Government to hand-over two Federal Government owned dams to the state for proper usage and management of the dams.

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