Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam is reported to rise to a towering 35 meters high and at its maximum capacity would be at 192 meters above sea level. Kashimbila, the host town, 7 kilometers away from the dam is 163 meters above sea level.
The stones and gravel for the construction of the dam come from Kashimbila. No royalties are paid to the community.
Mgbe 1, Mgbe 2, Birama, Lanke, Manga, Alang, Malumshe attend council meetings in the dilapidated council hall in Kashimbila. No road in Kashimbila is paved by the dam project. Rolbin Michael has indicated that Kashimbila should not expect anything from the project.
SCC Nigeria PLC executing project on behalf of Aurecon.com is building an ultra modern residential complex for the permanent workers of the dam. The company does not pretend that it is going to improve on the standards of living of the community.
Aurecon.com has flooded many communities, and for the 150 years that these communities would be under water, they have been told not to expect anything from the company.
Rolbin Michael recently asked Chief Musa zakari to stop people from fishing on the dam and wait for the governor of Taraba State to authorize them. The community has always lived by fishing and farming. After flooding their farms and homes, they are being asked to also stop fishing to survive.
Some children in Kashimbila still attend classes under trees. Even those who have classrooms do not look like children from a community hosting a mega project. The communities around the dam still live below the poverty line.
Kashimbila is the only town in this part of the Takum Local Government Area to still be hosting the Muslim Fulani community. This area is a flash point of the Fulani farmers crises that has rocked the central belt of Nigeria for some months. The Jukun make no pretense that they are going to finish with the Fulani who are raping, killing their members and destroying their crops.
More dispossessed people are pouring unto the streets of Kashimbila thanks to the multipurpose dam project.
The Tiv from Benue State have had quite many bloody encounters with the Jukun of Kashimbila who have burned down kilometers of Tiv houses and occupied the space. The Tiv are lying in readiness to stop any Fulani crossing into their territory.
Chief Musa zakari, with very strong family links to Esu in the Cameroons, has been playing a pacifying role calling on the communities to coexist peacefully. For how long he succeeds in this daunting balancing role will be tested by the Internally Displaced Persons flooding his town from the submerged villages upstream.
Fon Christopher Achobang
Social Commentator, Human rights activist