A week ago, Katsina State rolled out the drums to celebrate 30 years of its creation with pomp and pageantry. Ibrahim Shuaibu was there and files this report
Katsina usually referred to as Katsina state to distinguish it from the city of Katsina, is a state in North-west zone of Nigeria. It’s capital is Katsina city and has 34 local government areas.
Carved out of Kaduna State on 23 September 1987 Katsina was founded by Kumayo. Before the Fulani conquest, Katsina was an important seat of learning and a commercial centre of the Trans-Saharan trade.
The people of the state are mainly Hausa and Fulani.
The state had 34 local government areas which comprises Bakori, Batagarawa, Batsari, Baure, Bindawa, Charanchi, Dandume, Danja, Dan Musa, Daura, Dutsi, Dutsin-Ma, Faskari, Funtua, Ingawa, Jibia, Kafur, Kaita, Kankara, Kankia, Katsina, Kurfi, Kusada, Mai’Adua, Malumfashi, Mani, Mashi, Matazuu, Musawa, Rimi, Sabuwa, Safana, Sandamu, Zango.
Katsina State occupies 24,192 square kilometres with a population of approximately 7.6 million people. Katsina is endowed with good soil and climatic condition suitable for agricultural production within three ecological zones of Sahel, Guinea and Sudan Savannah in the north, central and southern parts, respectively. The state has over 80 surface water bodies, among which are: Zobe Dam with 140 million cubic meters reservoir capacity; Jibia Dam with 140 million cubic meters and Sabke Dam with 37 million cubic metres.
The first military administrator of the state was Colonel Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar who governed the state from September to July 1988; Colonel Lawrence Onoja 1988 to 1989, John Madaki 1989 to 1992, the fist civilian governor was Alhaji Saidu Barda who ruled the state from 1992 to 1993, Mr. Emmanual Acholonu 1993 to 1996, Mr. Samaila Bature Chama 1996 to 1998, Col. Joseph Akaagerger 1998 to 1999. The second civilian governor is Malam Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from 1999 to 2007 who went on to become the president. Ibrahim Shehu Shema succeeded him on 29 May 2007. He left on 29 May 2015 when he handed over to the incumbent governor Aminu Bello Masari.
Katsina state has recorded enormous successes in agriculture, education, economics, trades and other spheres of life within its 30 years of existence.
Masari is determined to sustain the tempo of development in the state. He has given priority to provision of portable water supply. Masari’s administration intervention has led to the resuscitation, upgrading and expansion of many water supply projects across the state. Major works were carried out in six major water works to boost supply to towns and villages. Work is going on to resuscitate the Ajiwa Water Works which has a capacity to treat 50 million litres per day and is serving Katsina township and environ with portable water for both domestic, commercial and industrial purposes. It is now a dilapidated condition operating at 40% of its install capacity.
In order to restore back the design capacity of both the dam and the treatment plant the current administration through the Ministry of Water Resources has entered into a contract for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Ajiwa Dam and Water Treatment Plant with Kaibo International Limited at the total cost of N1,996,861,690.85 with 40 per cent of the contract sum paid to the contractor.
The Malumfashi water supply scheme was constructed and commissioned in 1983 with a capacity of 4,500 cubic meters per day and the scheme is meant to supply water to Malumfashi, Kankara towns and the villages along the pipeline. However, the devastating flood of 2008 washed away a portion of the pumping main and high tension line near Bonn dawa village, consequent upon which Malumfashi was cut-off from the water works thus making pumping of water from the treatment plant to Malumfashi impossible.
The damage was not attended to since then. However, the Masaru’s administration awarded the contract for the repairs of the damage portion in October, 2015 under the emergency rehabilitation of Malumfashi water supply scheme at N141,705,983.05. The work has since been completed and water supply restored to Malumfashi town since March 2116.
The Funtua Water Supply Scheme as well as Daura Urban Water Supply Scheme have also been rehabilitated by the present administration. Power remains a major problem and where necessary, the Masari-led government procured transformers and generators to power these water schemes.
For instance, prior to the coming of Masari, the Dutsinma water supply scheme operated for less than 8 hours daily but now it is operating between 16 hours per day due to increased diesel supply by the state government.
The state government through its Rural Water Supply Agency, (RUWASSA) was able to provide 464 hand pump boreholes, 20 motorised boreholes, 130 hand pump boreholes and latrines in primary schools, 25 hand pump borehole and latrines in health centres and 85 hand pump boreholes in communities across the state.
It is to be noted that increase supply of clean water has imparted in the area of education. Now more children are attending schools because of the proximity of water source. Likewise in the health sector availability of clean water prevents water borne diseases which in turn saves a lot of money that would otherwise had been spent in treating diseases.
In agriculture sector, the availability of more water from the dam reservoirs allows for irrigation and help farmers to plant throughout the seasons. This in turn ensures the food security of the nation. The water resources sector has also impacted on the industrial development of the state.
The governor had also introduced the restoration project with the view to restoring the lost glory of Katsina State in agriculture. When the programme began in 2016, more budget was allocated to agriculture.
To ensure proper planning, the state government engaged over 2,000 youths, majority of whom are unemployed graduates to capture farmers’ data in order to generate and store authentic data on farmers’ land size, location and soil type. This will put the state in a better stead for proper planning on extant and future projects and programmes. More importantly, government needed to know the number of its people engaged in farming activities, their categories, location and other parameters necessary for effective governance of the sector.
The agricultural resources available in the state also needed to be documented for proper planning.
In its effort to develop the state economy based on agriculture through ensuring food security and provide raw materials for agro-allied industries, the state has chosen four value chain crops (rice, wheat, cotton and tomato) and aquaculture (fish production), sheep and goats. The state has secured Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) approval for participation in its Anchor Borrower’s Programme on massive production of these crops and livestock species.
The programme will ensure adequate and timely provision of needed inputs to the participating farmers, while linkage to market is ensured through readily available up-takers.
ABP began with 20,000 farmers for rice and wheat production for the 2016 dry season. This was followed with cotton and tomato for the year 2017 and later culture, sheep and goats will follow. As an additional boost, the state has keyed into the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CART), which aims at facilitating the production of rice in a competitive manner (comparing with international standards), and the improvement of the output of the smallholder farmer.
In order to move from subsistence farming to mechanised farming, Katsina State government is deploying 325 tractors, 1,083 power tillers; and 300 gravitational drip Irrigation kits to farms in the state.
For Masari, economic empowerment of women, youth and the less privileged in the society remains a cardinal point of his administration. To this end a special directorate was created and mandated to spread wealth across the society. Since the coming of the directorate many programmes and projects have been executed and loans disbursed to many beneficiaries.
A special data collection commenced in earnest with over 500 forms issued and about 490,200 beneficiaries enrolled from 4902 economic centres created across the state. To ensure that more women benefited a ratio of 60/40 female and male respectively was strictly followed. A N2 billion CBN loan was secured and disbursed.
The government is also giving a great deal of attention to the health sector in view of the deteriorating situation it inherited. Health centres are being rehabilitated expanded and upgraded. While development of manpower, provision of drugs and other essentials are also receiving attention. The state’s three general hospitals are receiving a massive face lift .
Among others the following projects are ongoing: construction and remodeling of General Hospital Katsina, construction of new mortuary at General Hospital Katsina with similar works going on at Daura and Funtua general hospitals as well as the construction of two blocks of classrooms at the School of Health Technology Daura.
The state is providing free medical schemes for patients on renal dialysis, accident victims, pregnant women including caesarean section (CS), patients with malaria and children under five years at government hospitals across the state.The government has expanded the free medicare scheme to cover psychiatric patients so that they get all their medications free.
In his drive to diversify the state economy, encourage private sector, create jobs and entrepreneurial promotion through generation of viable investment opportunities in the state, Masari set up the Katsina Economic & Investment Summit Committee (KASEIS) to amongst others promote investment opportunities and host the Katsina Economic & Investment Summit with the aim creating awareness and get the buy-in of citizens of the state on the government’s policy thrust and intended investment climate and also create a platform for dialogue with potential Investors.
The committee is also mandated to: share emerging investment ideas with target audience, engage all the state’s unutilized and underutilized natural resources towards creating an efficient investment climate thereby creating prosperous state; revitalize the state’s private sector for higher returns and employment generation; and enhance the visibility of the state as a viable investment hub.
The summit priority sectors are: agric– business, power and energy, solid mineral, property development and hospitality and creative arts industry.
Already, the state has started counting the gains of the summit which brought the attention of the investment community to Katsina. The eyes of the world were riveted on Katsina State before, during and immediately after the summit.
Over thirty business memorandums of understanding were signed during the summit including the handing over of the moribund Kankia metal works to an indian company through concessionary arrangement. The summit led to: the foundation laying ceremony of multi million Naira tomato farm and tomato processing plant in Sabuwa Local Government Area by Erisco Foods Nigeria Limited; securing land for rice milling and cotton ginning factory by Jargaba Nigeria Limited; securing of land for cluster of agro industries projects at Sheme in Faskari Local Government by Jifatu Group of Companies; commissioning and engagement of consultant for establishment of industrial park in Katsina LGA; commencement of establishment of agro allied company by AMMASCO in Katsina; securing of site for the establishment of tomato factory in Banjo Local Government; and in flow of prospective investors to the state for businesses.
Katsina State has recorded successes in agriculture, education, economics, trades and other spheres of life within its 30 years of existence.