Alhassan Rurum and the Kano dams

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Many Nigerians will probably remember him as the former Speaker of the Kano State Assembly, under whose tenure the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, was dethroned. But I remember Hon. Kabiru Alhassan Rurum as former Ward Councilor ‘F’ Ikosi/Ketu/Mile12/Maidan/Agiliti/Awode Elede of Kosofe Local Government Area in Lagos State where he began to exhibit the makings of an environmentalist through his roots sanitation initiatives. Now that the impact of climate change has become a manifest reality in the country’s second city, he must rise up and become Kano’s climate champion.

Back in his home state and after serving in the state assembly, he is now a member of the House of Representatives, representing the federal constituencies of Rano, Bunkure and Kibiya. But the irony is that, with all his ecological footprints on the sands of Kano, he didn’t rise to be counted as a green politician. The question is: is it because our country has not moved towards a green policy or is the House Environment Committee not one of the so-called “juicy” committees?

This article is inspired by the fact that after more than two months of closure of the Tiga Dam for repairs, dry season farmers in about six local government areas of Kano State have faced hardship as their livelihoods are seriously affected. The farmers, who used the facility to grow crops such as wheat, rice, tomato, cabbage and many others, lament that they are unable to cultivate this dry season and that it does not involves no food for their families and for sale. The Tiga dam is the main source of water for the agricultural dry season. This will invariably affect food production in the country.

Kano is the state with the most dams in Nigeria; however, most of the water comes from the Tiga Dam, where it has the greatest storage capacity (about 2 billion m3). A program of dams and irrigation projects was started in Kano State in the early 1970s. Although the program was not completed, 20 zoned earth dams had been constructed by 1980 by the former administrator, police commissioner Audu Bako.

Therefore, looking at the bigger picture and looking to the future, we need to prepare for national adaptation, not only to the closure for repairs of the Kano dams, but to new local emergencies induced by climate change. Kano State as a whole has a groundwater problem, which is why the first governor of the state, Audu Bako, built 20 dams. Since then, there have been no major upgrades or expansions of the program.

However, in 2017, at the height of Turakin Rano’s political influence, the Kano state government announced that it would construct eight earth dams to boost irrigation activities in the 44 local government areas of Kano. the state. The state has also planned to rehabilitate some dams to complement the 20 existing dams by improving irrigation and providing drinking water to animals in rural areas.

Interestingly, the state government also started water supply to Rano from the Tiga dam to end the permanent water shortage in the ancient city, which Hon. Rurum represented at the time in the State House of Assembly. To solve Rano’s water problem, the government has started laying a 42-kilometer pipe between the Tiga dam and Rano.

Eventually, when Rurum won the federal constituency of Rano, Bunkure and Kibiya in the House of Representatives in the 2019 National Assembly elections, he immediately declared that his mission to join the race was ecological because Rano, Bunkure and Kibiya are endowed with agricultural, human and natural resources, with huge arable land, but what was missing was the modern infrastructure to utilize the natural endowments. Therefore, he proclaimed that his goal would be to see that the federal government completed Rano’s moribund irrigation projects.

That’s why it was disconcerting to see him emerge as chairman of the House committee on pensions, instead of an environment-related committee. Still, you have to give him that he tried to stay green. It facilitated the construction of roads in rural areas to facilitate the movement of agricultural products and also provide agricultural inputs to farmers. The federal government has undertaken the construction of 65 kilometer feeder roads in Rano, Kibiya and Bunkure local government areas of Kano State to encourage agricultural production. The roads are the 31 km Bunkure road and the 34 km Rano-Kibiya road. Hon. Rurum said the roads will link Kano to other farming communities in Kaduna, Jigawa and Bauchi states, noting that they were being carried out under the federal government’s agricultural intervention program to alleviate traffic difficulties. agricultural products. He also disclosed that the federal government is supporting the construction of 150 tube wells in the state to encourage year-round farming through irrigation.

Kano State, located in the Sahelian region of Nigeria, faces threats posed by climate change. A scientific study, which was carried out to observe precipitation and temperature data for the period 1960-2007 (used to examine recent changes in the extreme climate over Kano) and published in the International Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, confirms it. Over the entire period, the results show a warming trend, an increase in the number of cool nights, warmer days and a sharp increase in the number of hot episodes. Rainfall indices show a slight increase in total annual precipitation, a decrease in the maximum number of consecutive wet days and a significant increase in the number of extremely wet days. Such climatic changes could naturally lead to an increasing demand for household energy to cool a higher rate of evaporation from water bodies and irrigated crops. This will in turn lead to a decline in the performance of agricultural crops and livestock.

The Sahelian region of West Africa is one of the areas most vulnerable to climate change. Since the devastating drought of the 1970s and early 1980s, greater ecological attention has been focused here. It is therefore paramount for policymakers to ensure investment and promotion of more energy-efficient infrastructure and household appliances, as well as to encourage low-cost and environmentally friendly energy production systems. environment in order to deal with these extreme meteorological and climatic phenomena.

This is why we need climate champions in the political sphere. Rurum has shown an innate proclivity for green and I think he ignores all temptations to follow the path of ordinary politicians and stick to the green path. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore became a global green icon by sticking to the path other U.S. politicians eschewed.

There is a global consensus that poor and vulnerable developing countries face increasing challenges in dealing with climate-related disasters. When people and communities experience droughts and floods, they need effective support and strong voices. Although developed countries seem to recognize that this is a problem, they do not commit to taking any reasonable steps to address it. We need new political icons among us to stand up for poor communities. Kano, being one of the largest Nigerian states, could become a rallying point for the entire sub-region. It is a commercial pivot in West Africa and can therefore contribute to the fight against climate change at the regional level.

Meanwhile, all governments and public officials must become climate champions and make bold decisions to transform their constituencies. The time to act is now. We need champions leading the way to a green and resilient transition. This is the only way for us to prepare our country to engage the developed world on the international stage while providing a great shoulder for other developing countries to lean on.

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