May I on behalf of the Ministry welcome the Commissioners responsible for managing our water assets in the States, Officials of the Ministry and other delegates to this 28th regular National Council on Water Resources. I know some of you must have endured some challenges on your way but I am gratified that you overcame them with the characteristic Nigerian resilience to join us in Abuja for this important meeting.
- Considering that this 28th Council was initially scheduled to hold in Sokoto in line with Resolution of the 27th Council, I wish to use this opportunity to apologize on behalf of the Ministry for whatever inconvenience the change may have imposed on your schedules. I want to particularly express our profound apologies to Governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR (Mutawallen Sokoto) as well as the Government and people of Sokoto State for this change considering the efforts and investments they must have put in planning to host this important meeting.
- Let me assure His Excellency and the good people of Sokoto State that the Ministry looks forward with excitement to the next opportunity to hold the meeting in the seat of the Caliphate and hope that despite the disappointment, we will be accorded the characteristic warmth and hospitality of the Caliphate when this happens.
- Honourable Commissioners and distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, we are aware that funding is one of the major challenges facing the sustainable development of the water sector which has in no small way contributed to the deteriorating or near lack of water infrastructure in the Country. Reports indicate that there is a huge funding gap of over 6 trillion Naira to procure infrastructure in the Sector.
- The 28th Council will afford us the opportunity to discuss developments in the Water Sector, evaluate previous proposals to address identified challenges, particularly funding, through our Resolutions, and chart a way forward towards resolving contemporary challenges in the sector. It is therefore anticipated that during this Council meeting under the theme – “Emerging Financial and Management Challenges for Sustainable Water Infrastructure in Nigeria”; we will holistically review developments in the sector under the following sub-themes-
i. Water Governance.
ii. Operational Water Infrastructure. iii. Climate Extremes and impact on Water Infrastructure. iv. Sustainable Financing.
v. Pricing for Water and Water Services.
- You may recall that the 27th Council Meeting held in Abuja in December, 2020 last year adopted 18 Resolutions intended to address the identified challenges in the Water Sector. These include among others:
• The construction of dams on identified sites for systematic reining in of flooding in the country in order to reduce the recurrent flooding in the country;
• Commemoration of the World Rivers Day on the last Sunday of September of every year in line with the United Nation’s approval by the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) and all States.
• States to key in into the current PEWASH Initiative, while PEWASH focal States be judged based on performance approach using the established separate budget line for PEWASH programme in RUWASSAs
• The National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) finalize the SHF proposal to fund the financial gap for Nigeria, and that the shortlisted States convey willingness in order to benefit from the grant, in line with the cofinancing requirement of the grant in Ql of 2021.
• The provision of the required guidance at the State level by the Ministry to encourage 20 States and the FCT flag off the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign under the National Programme to end Open Defecation in Nigeria by 2025, to enable the country achieve ODF by 2025.
- I deliberately decided to recapitulate some of these decisions of the 27th Council as they provide a crucial backdrop for evaluating our efficiency in the sector, for the purpose of reporting to the 28th Council. It is therefore my expectation that in order to ensure sustainability and unlike previous Councils, we deploy the opportunity of this meeting to evaluate the efficacy of our previous actions and recommendations, particularly the preceding Council, for consistency and effectiveness of our interventions in the long run.
- Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to highlight some of the achievements of the Ministry and developments in the Sector since the last Council. In line with the policy thrust of this administration, steps were taken to achieve the delivery of our irrigation schemes in phases. Since the last Council Meeting, completed sectors of some irrigation schemes that have been handed to farmers for cultivation. These include:
i. 3,070 hectares at Middle Rima Valley Irrigation Project in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
ii. 786 hectares Gari Irrigation Project in Jigawa and Kano States.
iii. 7,105 hectares at Bakolori Irrigation Project in Zamfara State. iv. 5,129 hectares at Kano River Irrigation Project in Kano, Kano State.
v. 4,050 hectares at Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project in Jigawa State.
- In addition, Erosion Control Works Projects at Idokpo, Ogbagede, Ukwagba, Ohuakwu LGA in Ebonyi State have been completed and commissioned while connection of Middle Ogun irrigation Project to the national power grid is ongoing. The re-design of Middle and Lower Ogun Irrigation Projects in Oyo and Ogun States respectively commenced in September, 2021. Similarly, the integration of Solar Power in the 1,200 hectares Sabke Irrigation Project in Katsina State is at an advanced stage.
- Let me also inform you that the World Bank – assisted “Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) Project” is making significant impact in the projects under its intervention such as Bakolori, Kano River and Hadejia Valley Irrigation Projects. When completed, the intervention will add over 42,000 hectares of land to the existing irrigation area and reduce the hazard potential(s) of existing dams. About 625,000 jobs are expected to be created while 520,000 additional tons of rice and other cereals are estimated to be produced annually.
- The Ministry’s programmes on youth empowerment will address the alarming youth unemployment, enhance food security, promote WASH as well as impact on contemporary challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. States are expected to collaborate with the Federal Government in facilitating access to farm land to our teeming youths.
- The Ministry is doggedly pursuing the establishment/strengthening of Water Users Associations (WUAs) nationwide for effective and efficient operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure by building the capacity of irrigators.
- Moreover, in pursuance of the national launch and flag-off of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign, the Ministry has in collaboration with Stakeholders made some stride towards achieving the set goal of making Nigeria open defecation free.
➢ State and LGA Desk Officers were designated as liaison between States and the National Campaign Secretariat.
➢ Thirteen (13) States have reviewed their ODF Roadmap with detailed budget and timelines while an additional 19 States have set up Steering Committees to coordinate implementation
➢ Thirty-six States and the FCT have flagged off their State-wide Campaign to end open defecation.
➢ In just two years after the creation of the Campaign Secretariat, there are now 72 ODF LGAs compared to 16 at the start of the campaign. With the sustenance of the commitment and efforts in this direction, we are now looking at State wide ODF status that will upscale to nationwide status in 2022.
➢ The National Youth Volunteer Programme on COVID-19 prevention and support for the Clean Nigeria Campaign has been successfully launched and is now being implemented in 35 States and FCT, with the exception of Benue State.
- Let me commend you all for the effort being put into successfully launching the Campaign in your States. However, In spite of the State level launch of the Campaign to end open defecation, many of the States are not committing the needed financial and human resources as well as the political will required to drive the campaign and accelerate progress. The progress being recorded in the attainment of ODF status across LGAs is limited to a few progressive States who are demonstrating leadership in this regard. I therefore urge you to join hands with the Ministry in changing this narrative so that we can successfully achieve our national ODF target for 2025.
- Further to the implementation of the National WASH Plan, we have developed Specially Targeted Programs like: (i) Water Supply initiative for North East & IDPs (ii) Water Supply Initiative for Federal Government Establishments and (iii) Water Supply Initiative for Federal Government Tertiary Education Institutions. These initiatives are geared toward increasing access to water supply.
- I am pleased to inform you that as part of the Federal Government’s National WASH Action Plan (NAP) for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector, the World Bank approved a $700 million dollar for the Nigeria Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (SURWASH). SURWASH is expected to provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services. The programme will deliver improved Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 Communities to achieve open defecation free status.
- SURWASH will focus not only on improving access to Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in seven pilot States, namely Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau, but on establishing the policies, regulations, procedures, institutional frameworks, and supply chain. This programme is performance-based and participation is open to all States in Nigeria based on their commitment to specific reforms in the sector.
- The Ministry is also working towards improving the country’s dam infrastructure which has created 20,400 direct jobs and 16,000 indirect jobs during the year under review. In this regard, the Ministry is collaborating with the Private Sector to develop the tourism potential of the Gurara Dam to support diversification of the Economy and create jobs for Nigerians, thereby, meeting the aspiration of this Administration on job creation and improve value chain. The process of concessioning mini and midi hydropower plants to boost power output in the country is on-going at the following locations: Makurdi 1,500MW,
Lokoja 750MW, Katsina-Ala 460MW, Tede 220MW, Mangu 182MW, Kiri 36MW, Bawarku 182MW and Manya 136MW.
- Permit me to appreciate our Development Partners and indeed all Stakeholders for the remarkable strides that have been made through our coordinated interventions to improve access to sustainable water infrastructure in Nigeria, but a lot still needs to be done.
- I am optimistic that this 28th National Council on Water Resources will come up with practicable and enforceable policies that will result in improved financing for infrastructure development in the water sector and ensure sustainable service delivery against the backdrop of dwindling government revenue.
- Honorable Commissioners and distinguished delegates , as you may be aware, the NCWR has six Standing Technical Sub-Committees each headed by a Chairman with relevant Stakeholders as members. You would recall that the current Chairmen were appointed in 2010 during the Emergency NCWR held in Abuja shortly after the demerger of the Ministry from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. These distinguished Professionals and Elder Statesmen have spent 11 years diligently providing quality service in coordinating and producing memorandum for Council’s consideration.
- However, Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come for us to change the leadership of the Sub-Committees. After careful consideration, the Ministry took the decision to renew the composition of the Sub-committees and appoint new Sub-Committee Chairmen for a four-year tenure renewable once upon satisfactorily performance evaluation.
- I wish to commend our out-going Chairmen and urge them to continue to lend us their wealth of experience by playing advisory role to the Council and the Ministry for the betterment of the Water Sector.
- Finally, I thank you for your kind attention and wish us fruitful deliberations.