Abuja — The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Thursday, disclosed that over 15 million Nigerians benefit from water projects in seven years under the Buhari-led administration.
Adamu made this known during a media parley tagged ‘Lunch Time Forum with Water Correspondents’ on the Ministry’s effort to provide water resources to Nigerians with critical infrastructures and policies that have changed the narrative over seven years of the Buhari-led administration.
He maintained that because of the tremendous progress and improvement in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, subsector, and he said 83 Local Government Areas across the country are declared Open Defecation Free, ODF, bases on the massive awareness created.
Which he disclosed that soon Jigawa State will be announced as the first ODF State in Nigeria as 26 out of the 27 local government areas of the State have attained the ODF status.
He urged States and Local Government Areas to come up with laws that would deter people from open defecation practice after providing the facilities for them to stop the practice, hence using the carrot and stick approach.
He said: “We need the States to invest more in WASH. The Federal Government has provided all the groundwork, WASH Action Plan, direct interventions for urban and rural water supply in States.
“The WASH Fund is being created under the National Water Resources Bill.
“We have negotiated $700million loan for Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, SURWASH, on behalf of States.
“We have given States every incentive for them to do the needful.We will continue to engage them.
“We still need high level of political will and support from States to be able to deliver on water and sanitation.”
He also gave hope to farmers on the Gari Irrigation Project about 70 kilometres north of Kano, between Kano and Jigawa Statest that is expected to provide water supply to 2,300 hectares of irrigable land, after its completion before end of 2022, and he made it known that it was a project under the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, under President Muhammadu Buhari when he was the Chairman when the project was flagged off, but had remained abandoned by successive administrations.
However, the Minister made known that Lake Chad’s replenishment demands huge resources.
While answering questions at the media parley, he explained why inter-basin water transfer is difficult, “The inter-basin water transfer is supposed to traverse many countries, we are taking water from the Congo Basin and transferring it another 400 km into Chad, it is technically feasible.
“But it is very expensive. It requires a lot of study and we are going to be using the existing rivers, so it requires a lot of planning. But what we are doing is to start with the low hanging fruit.
“So what we want to do is to improve the hydraulacity of river chari and river Logone, the two rivers that bring water into lake chad.
“In addition to the climate change issue, even when you have good rain, the water just flows into the banks and creates new floodplains rather than flowing directly into the lake.
“So it’s a lot of technical issues to deal with before you finally talk about the money, And the money of course, it’s a lot of billions of dollars.
“One of the good things is that it has been taken as a PanAfrican project, but even at African Union, they are now talking about it seriously.”
Also some directors of the different departments in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources presented what they have been able to achieve and others in view.