Nigeria: Eni, NNPC, FAO Deliver Solar-Powered Water Schemes in North-East

Italian oil major, Eni in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has delivered 11 water schemes in Borno and Yobe States.

Eni through its Nigerian subsidiaries -the Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE) and Agip Energy and Natural Resources (AENR) partnered with NNPC and FAO to deliver the projects geared towards the realisation of some key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The integrated water schemes made up of boreholes, solar power systems, treatment facilities and fetching points aimed at providing water for domestic consumption and irrigation purposes in the two states were inaugurated yesterday.

The multinational oil company in a statement sent to THISDAY by its spokesman in Nigeria, Mr. Folu Olapade, said the projects were constructed under the framework of the “Access to Water” initiative implemented by FAO and Eni, in collaboration with NNPC.

It said the water wells, powered with photovoltaic systems, were completed between 2018 and 2020 in various communities located in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) including Chibok, Biu, Damboa, Gwoza LGAs in Bornu and Machina, Fune, Gujba, Geidam, Bade, Potiskum and Fika LGAs in Yobe.

Eni added that the inauguration and handover of the water schemes could not be held until now due to the volatile situation of the area.

It said public-private partnership leverages the skills and know-how of the public and private sectors to improve access to water for the communities affected by the humanitarian crisis in the North-east.

The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero, who handed the 11 facilities to the authorities of Bornu and Yobe States, stressed the importance of the facilities to the North-eastern states.

“The solar boreholes and FAO’s larger investment in irrigation and water management is a signal of our commitment to support the government of Nigeria achieve its development goals.

“In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and livelihood recovery,” Kafeero stated.

Eni’s Head of Sustainable Development, Alberto Piatti, said, “The handover of the water schemes is a cornerstone in the collaboration with FAO in the region that is contributing to improve the life of the communities.

“With the completion of the project, thousands of people will have access to clean water, which is a concrete step to enhance the overall living conditions of the inhabitants, providing them a safe source also for other uses, such as agriculture, to boost concrete social development.”

Since 2018, Eni and FAO have implemented a total of 22 water well projects under the framework of this Access to Water initiative: Five in Abuja Federal Capital Territory and 17 in North-East Nigeria, notably in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Overall, the initiative has contributed to improved sanitation and restore the livelihoods of about 67,000 people, including internally displaced people and their host communities.

The first water well, providing water for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community in Waru, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was inaugurated in November 2018, and the remaining four water schemes in FCT were unveiled in November 2019.

One of the five water schemes located in Borno State (Bama LGA) was inaugurated in June 2019, while five located in Adamawa State were commissioned in October 2021.

The international oil company (IOC) noted that the Access to Water initiative was implemented in the framework of the Collaboration Agreement between FAO and Eni in Nigeria, geared towards achieving SDGs, particularly SDG1, which deals with No Poverty.

Others are SDG2 – Zero Hunger; SDG6 – Clean water and Sanitation; SDG13 – Climate Action, and SDG17 – Partnerships for the Goals.

It added, “The water schemes are solar-powered and provided with back-up power system to ensure availability and sustainability. Those producing drinking water are equipped with a reverse-osmosis plant to treat and purify the water.

“As part of the initiative, the relevant local authorities are involved to provide support in training and sensitising the communities on water management and practices for long-term sustainability.

“Eni has been present in Nigeria since 1962 through its subsidiaries NAOC (Nigerian Agip Oil Company), AENR (Agip Energy and Natural Resources) and NAE (Nigerian Agip Exploration), with both onshore and offshore activities.”

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