Nigeria has joined the rest of the World to celebrate the 17th edition of the Annual World Rivers Day with the theme ‘ *the incredible natural, cultural and recreational values of rivers, lakes and streams in our communities’* under the Nigeria sub-theme *’Rights of Rivers’* in order to draw focus on the threats to our rivers, her rights to existence and rights to restoration.
The Honourable of Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu FNSE, FAeng declared the celebration open on Monday 26th September at the Jabi Lake Water Front during the commemoration of the Year 2022 World Rivers Day in Abuja.
He recalled that the World Rivers Day is celebrated globally on the 25th September of every year, but in view of the fact that Sunday was a work free Day, the National Council on Water Resources approved Monday, 26th for the celebration.
Engr. Adamu stated that there is need to give attention to the protection of rivers that are in healthy state while consciously striving to restore those that have been damaged in the past. He added that according to the founder and Chair of the World Water Day, Mark Angelo, “the overall objective of the global event is to galvanize actions towards effective response to the different threats to rivers, and to intentionally seek innovative ways of improving the quality and flow of our river waters, maintain healthy environment for aquatic lives, as well as ensure efficient healthy hydrological connectivity”.
He further revealed that rivers in almost all countries face a number of threats ranging from pollution, global warming to climate change, and urged all to view Rivers and lakes as “living entities” entitled to certain fundamental rights and legal guardiance to shield them from degradation, pollution, misuse and extinction.
The Minister maintained that the Annual celebration of the World Rivers Day in Nigeria will contribute to the growing awareness across the country on the importance of healthy waterways, adding that this year’s celebration is simultaneously taking place in other states of the Federation and coordinated by the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs).
While admonishing all and sundry on the need to join hands in educating the populace especially communities living around our rivers, streams and lakes on the need for protection, he also disclosed that in order to guarantee the continued success of this campaign, the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) as well as other Agencies of the Ministry have been mandated to embark on regular and increased advocacy programmes for the river restoration, protection and conservation within the framework of Integrated River Basin Management, to ensure coordinated development and management of the water resources in our rivers, streams and lakes.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack MCIPM, mni, stressed the importance of Rivers as major source of fresh water for domestic needs, agriculture, recreation, power generation, transportation and economic sustainability and reiterated the need for all River advocates to synergize and collectively ramp up efforts towards protecting our Rivers.
Goodwill messages were given, by the Chief of section, Capacity Development and Water Family Coordination UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, Prof Rahmah Elfithri, and the Representatives of Federal Ministry of Environment.
Highpoints of the celebration were the Jabi Lake riverside tree planting by the Honourable Minister, the Permanent Secretary and the UNESCO representative,as well as the symbolic water clean-up, River – Side celebration by Stakeholders and “Friends of the River” and the presentation of products made from water hyacinth.
For:Director, Press and Public Relations