By Tosin Kolade
Federal Government on Tuesday renewed its commitment to promote transboundary water resources in the Niger Basin.
Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, who made this known at the ongoing meeting of the Technical Committee of Experts of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) in Abuja, said protecting and managing the ecosystem of the basin must be done in an equitable manner.
This, the minister said would help to improve the socio economic well-being of the population within and outside the basin.
Adamu, represented by Mr Benson Ajisegiri, Director, Water Supply with the ministry, said member states had the primary responsibility of ensuring that this mandate was met.
He said that the NBA ought to continue to be stronger and more united to face the emerging challenges facing the ecosystem, noting that this meeting was an opportunity for such.
He however pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to continue to fulfil its obligations towards effective water resources management and promote interregional cooperation.
The Executive Secretary of the NBA, Mr Abderahim Bireme, said the Technical Committee of Experts was a preparatory meeting for the Extraordinary Session of Council of Ministers to review and adopt policies for proper functioning of the common institution.
According to him, this would help to significantly and permanently improve the implementation of projects and programmes for the greatest benefit of the population in the Niger Basin.
Bireme said the meeting would be an avenue to deliberate on institutional and organisational audit, construction of its headquarters and decision on major dams and the Water charter.
He commended the National Focal Structure Coordinators and Regional Coordinating Unit of users of Niger Basin natural resources for the efforts made to honour their obligations.
The National Focal Structure Coordinator, Mrs Alice Ojowu, commended the Federal Government for its commitment to the protection of the ecosystem and equitable use of its resources.
Ojowu said NBA’s main objective was to sustainably manage the Niger Basin ecosystems through integrated management of water resources and the enhancement of the living conditions and prosperity of the populace.
She said Nigeria benefitted from one of the programmes established under the Water Resources Ecosystem management, through the intervention to rehabilitate the Kainji and Jebba dams.
“Through that intervention, we have been able to add about 340MW to the national grid, for power generation”.
The NBA was created in November, 1980 with Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad as members.
Its headquarters is in Niamey, Niger Republic.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that of the nine member countries, Nigeria is among the first five to benefit from programmes implemented by the NBA. (NAN)