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Senate summons Oshotimehien, Abba-Ruma, Odey over N26bn Lake Nyos fund

By Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA — The Senate has summoned the Ministers of Health, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, Agriculture, Dr. Sayyad Abba-Ruma and Environment, Mr. John Odey to answer questions on the whereabout of N26 billion meant for the construction of a buffer dam at Kashimbila Benue State to cushion the dangers posed by the eventual break of the Nyos dam in Cameroon.

The summon was upon the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Joseph Akergerger (PDP) Benue North-East raising alarm over the imminent danger posed by Lake Nyos to the people of Benue, Taraba, Enugu and Plateau states.

Presenting the motion on the floor of the Senate, Senator Akergerger lamented the carefree approach exhibited by the Federal Government despite warnings from United Nations that Lake Nyos may collapse any time soon.

He said, “Senate is aware that on the 21st August 1986, the lake experienced a volcanic eruption resulting in over 1,700 death and several injuries from asphyxiation consequent upon the massive release of carbon dioxide.

“Aware that in the event the dam fails or collapses or is ignited by any minor earthquake, it will result in the release of over 5 million cubic liters of water leading to flooding which will affect millions of Nigeria and animals submerging some areas in states such as Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Enugu with the injurious gas covering the entire area.

“Aware that the Federal Government later announced the sum of N26 billion which was budgeted to construct a buffer dam at the side of the lake, work is yet to start on the project.”

The motion was overwhelmingly supported by the Senators as they all expressed concern over government’s shoddy handling of the buffer dam.
Among those that spoke are Senators Bassey Ewa-Henshaw (PDP) Cross River, Ayogu Eze(PDP) Enugu North, Ibrahim Ida (PDP), Eme Ufot Ekeatte (PDP) Akwa Ibom, and Folashade Bent (PDP) Adamawa.

Senator Eze in his contribution said the country is sitting on keg of gun powder that may soon explode by not giving due attention to the buffer dam. He said adequate provision should be made in the 2010 budget for buffer dam.


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