Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Food Security, Water Challenges Get Attention At Water Council Meeting)

The 23rd regular meeting of the
National Council On Water Resources was recently concluded in Abuja with about
200 participants taking a look at how water resources could be effectively harnessed to guarantee food security for Nigerians as well as access to
water supply and sanitation for
sustainable development.

The meeting was chaired by the
Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, who is also the chairman of the council.

Addressing the participants, the
minister noted that the absence of officially approved irrigation policy and strategy, alongside
relevant laws to underpin the policy has been one of the major challenges limiting progress in
development of the irrigation sub-sector.

He, however, said a
draft National Irrigation and
Drainage Policy and Strategy has now been finalised.
He said his ministry was collaborating with that of
agriculture in the development
and utilisation of water resources infrastructure for
commercial agriculture
development.

To this end, he told the participants that about 6,000 hacare
of land had been identified nationwide to be fully equipped
with irrigation infrastructure for
commercial farming before the end of the year.

On water, the minister said the
present administration of
President Muhammadu Buhari
placed high premium on the provision of water and sanitation
to Nigerians on an affordable and sustainable manner and that the ministry would work hard to
achieve that.

To that end, he said the ministry has commenced different
programmes including the Small
Towns Water Supply and Sanitation programme in 42
communities in six states with the assistance of the World Bank and the European Commission and the National Water Supply Reform Programme among
others.

The minister noted that 70% of tropical ailments were water related, hence the ministry has made concerted efforts to
address the incidence. He said
the contributions of the Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to
health and socio-economic
development could not be over-
emphasised.

The permanent secretary, in the
ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, said the federal government was committed in meeting with national aspiration by providing safe water and improved
sanitation for all Nigerians in line
with the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union Vision 2025.

The participants, who included state water resources commissioners, state water agencies, the representatives of
the European Union, UNICEF, UNESCO, JICA and Water Aid,
brainstormed extensively during
the 5-day meeting with the theme, ‘Refocusing Water and Sanitation for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals.’

At the end of the meeting, they agreed among other things, that a request be made to the National Assembly to review the National Inland Waterways
Authority Act 2004.

That the federal government be
urged to approve the Federal Ministry of Water Resources’
accesses intervention funds for systematic development of
strategic dams along Benue and Niger river system to control
floods.

That the ministry of water funds the implementation of the 3rd phase of the Girls and Women In
Nigeria (G-WIN) project in Jigawa,
Ondo, Benue, Enugu and Cross River states,’’ a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting read in part.

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