Bounce Exclusive: Farmers Around 'Mysterious' Lake Still Lack Water
While the Nigerian government is focusing on saving the lake within the Lake Chad Basin Commission, there is one lake in Delta State begging to be used before it dries up.
In Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State lies a lake between Ubulu Okiti and Otulu christened Okiti Mili because it is believed to be a drop of water that remained in the area when a deity chased a river out of Ubulu Okiti community years ago.
On a large portion of the lake is a kind of grass that is forcing it to dry up. There is no sign at all that attention has been given to the lake.
It looks green and dirty but absolutely good enough to make vegetables green.
Bounce News visited the lake in search of facts behind a mysterious story that indigenes of Ubulu Okiti share about a deity, Ezemu.
The deity is believed to have chased a river away from this community three centuries ago. Since then, generations of residents have spoken about the challenge they face in getting clean water.
There is no working borehole within the town, but in a valley few kilometers away lies a lake surrounded by farm lands but no irrigation of any sort is happening there.
It could have been a major area where vegetables are grown but more of empty land is what you will see around it. A small vegetable farm near the lake bears testimony of what could be achieved if irrigation farming is explored around the lake.
Bounce News met a farmer, Mr Emerie Anthony, who is from Umunede in Ika area of Delta State and farms near the lake. When asked why they have not explored irrigation for vegetable and other crops, he sounded so naive about the impetus that the lake could add to farming around that area, apparently because they were not used to irrigation farming.
Emerie said a man had a vegetable farm very near to the lake and usually hits the market with a lot of vegetable earlier than every other person each season, but what he does not know is that all through the year, the same vegetable could be nurtured in the same location and become a commercial source of income.
Ubulu Okiti and Otulu are predominantly occupied by farmers but there is no government empowerment programme for farmers in this region, according to what Mr Emerie said. The government can give attention to the lake, save it from drying up and make it a source of water for farmers around the area to boost crop production.
The area also seems fertile enough for rice farming.
Empowerment programmes in form of training and support will definitely be appreciated by farmers like Mr Emerie and also make them preserve the lake from drying up.