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Women Affairs Minister Pledges Commitment to Revival of Lower Anambra Irrigation Project



By Olisemeka Obeche

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye has reiterated her commitment towards full restoration of the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project at Ayamelum LGA, Anambra State. The minister made the pledge recently during a fact finding mission to the LAIP pumping station and canal lining sites at Ayamelum.

The visit organized by the minister, also had as delegates, top officials of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources led by the Director of River Basin Agency, Engr. Christy Oduh and Mr. Philip Okwuche, Assistant Director, Ministry of Water Resources, representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Engr. Engr. Msugh Orkor, officials of the Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority (AIRBDA), and the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-One (ATASP-1), Adani-Omor Zonal Programme Implementation Unit.

Hon. Kennedy-Onanenye, represented by Barr. Mike Ikegbunam, State Coordinator of Anambra Young Women Rice Farmers Initiative, a pet project of the minister, had expressed joy that the LAIP which had been moribund for over ten years was already undergoing rehabilitation.

Ikegbunam commended the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase One, ATASP-1 for providing a lifeline to the moribund Irrigation system with ongoing rehabilitation of the LAIP pumping station and canal lines.

“We visited LAIP’s pumping station Ifite-Ogwari, administrative office at Omor and the giant rice mill at Umunbo where we saw the state of the facilities and we believe God that with the ongoing rehabilitation of the irrigation canals and pumping station by ATASP-1 coupled with the efforts of the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project will soon resume full operation and return Ayamelum local government area and Anambra State to its earlier glory days as the rice production hub of the state.

He conveyed the readiness of the minister to liase with relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure speedy completion of the project and effective utilization of the facilities for all-year-round rice cultivation.

According to him, the minister had solid plans to empower residents of Ayamelum, especially women in rice farming and fisheries. He disclosed that the minister’s pet project had about 800 members in Anambra was designed to enable her connect with women, mostly those in rural areas and to improve their livelihood and boos their economic status through farming and aquaculture.

“The minister has a big plan for people of Ayamelum and Anambra, especially women as she wants to encourage massive rice farming and fish farming in the area.

“We are encouraged by her tireless efforts to see that the irrigation system which made Ayamelum an important place in the past return to its glory and that women are giving their fair chance in the new scheme of things at LAIP.


“This visit is an eye-opener to all of us because LAIP has been officially designated moribund and its facilities being sold under the table. Now, the federal government, through ATASP-1 is rehabilitating it and the minister is also keying into the project to ensure that it sees the light of the day, we are calling on all stakeholders to rally behind to see this through. We cannot afford to allow LAIP return to its dark days of redundancy anymore.

“We know that once the irrigation system resumes operation, rice will be cultivated four times a year in Ayamelum and that will ensure food increase which will positively affect Anambra and Nigeria at large”, he adds.

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