A ministerial nominee from Benue State, Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, has said the perennial menace of flooding in the country could be tackled mainly by dredging the rivers in the country such as River Benue, which is heavily silted.
Utsev, who is a Professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, said this while responding to questions from Senators when he appeared before the Senate for screening for confirmation of his appointment as a Minister on Monday.
Flooding has become an annual disaster in the country as floods in various parts of the country led to an estimated economic loss of $9.12bn, approximately N4.2 trillion last year.
Speaking on the way out, the Benue nominee said: “We are talking about flooding, for example, River Benue is heavily silted and that is the only reason why we are having flooding in the country.
“If I am giving the Ministry (Water Resources), I will collaborate with the Ministries of Transportation, Agriculture and other Ministries to see how we can tackle the menace of flooding by the way of trying to see how we can dredge the River.
“By dredging the River, you would have curb the menace of flooding and as well provide the water for irrigation, so that will solve the problem.”
The former Benue State Commissioner for Water Resources noted that irrigation farming is an artificial supply of water to crops and there were certain areas where dams cannot be constructed for that purpose but there is inland drilling for the purpose.
He said he has conducted several researches on water harvesting and uses, adding that: “We don’t encourage wastage of water, so what we now do is that the water that cause problems we put it into use.”
Speaking on concerns raised by a lawmaker regarding long period between when he left secondary school and graduated with a degree despite his show of brilliance, Utsev said it was due to the protracted strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“I went to Primary School in the year 1984, 1989 was when I got my First School Leaving Certificate. I started my secondary school in 1990, 1995, that was when I got my SSCE.
“I graduated in 2004, I was actually supposed to pass out in 2003 but there was a prolonged strike by ASUU. I did a five-year programme but with the strike, I spent six years on the programme, that is why I graduated in 2004,” he explained to the lawmakers.