The Adamawa state government, in collaboration with key players in the tourism industry, has unveiled a visionary project aimed at transforming the Kiri Water Dam, situated in the Shellang Local Government Area, into a vibrant holiday resort. The Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Mr Aloysius Babadoke, shared this development in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
Mr Babadoke stated that this endeavour is a pivotal step in the government’s concerted efforts to elevate the tourism sector.
“This initiative signifies our commitment to bolstering the tourism sector. Converting the Kiri Water Dam into a holiday resort park not only taps into its immense potential but also boosts revenue generation and beckons investors to explore our diverse tourist offerings.”
He went on to highlight the wealth of tourist attractions within Adamawa, including the Modibbo Adama Palace Museum in Yola South, the Sukur World Cultural Heritage Site in Madagali, and the Three Sisters Rock in Song LGA. Additionally, sites like the Sassa Waterfall and Gumti National Park in Toungo LGA, Elephant House in Guyuk, and the confluence of the River Gongola and Benue stand as testaments to the state’s rich natural heritage.
The Kiri Water Dam, boasting a capacity of 615 million m³, was originally constructed to provide irrigation for the Savannah Sugar Company (SSC), a significant sugar cane plantation and processing enterprise established as a joint venture between the Nigerian Federal Government and the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), London.
“In 2002, Dangote Industries took the reins of the Savannah Sugar Company, further solidifying its position in the industry. By 2009, the company had managed a vast expanse of 32,000 hectares near the dam, with 6,330 hectares actively under cultivation and providing employment for approximately 5,000 individuals,” Mr Babadoke recounted. The company’s annual sugar production, at around 50,000 metric tonnes, supplied a Nigerian market with an insatiable appetite for 1.1 million metric tonnes annually.
The canals established by the SSC facilitated the growth of over 1,000 hectares of irrigated rice and various other crops, highlighting the multifaceted impact of the dam on the agricultural landscape.
“Adamawa is endowed with remarkable sites, and this endeavour aligns with our broader strategy for socio-economic development,” he emphasised.