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Authority Blames Shrinking Of River Niger On Climate Change

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The management of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) has expressed worry over the continuous shrinkage of the River Niger, linking it to the impact of climate change.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Abderahim Hamid, said this at the opening of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Rivers Niger Basin Authority in Abuja.
He said promoting cooperation amongst member countries and contributing to improve the living conditions of the basin population through sustainable management of water resources is key to the development of the region.
Hamid pledged the determination of the authority to work within the confines of regional co-operation in managing and developing the resources of the river Niger basin.
He said the meeting was an avenue to seek out ways for the sustainable development of policies and programmes to address the issues of the basin.
The Coordinator, NBA National Focal Structure Nigeria, Dr Paul Adalikwu, while commending the contributions of the Federal Government to support trans-boundary activities, said this signifies the highest priority the county places on cooperation and coexistence.
According to him, the River Niger is of great importance not only to Nigeria but to other member countries that depend on the reality for their livelihood.
Adalikwu said it was saddening that for the first time since 1985, the river Niger completely dried up in Niamey, Niger Republic due to climate change.
“It is on record that for the first time since 1985, the River Niger dried up completely in Niamey, Niger Republic due to climate change.
“The river reduced from two million Square kilometers to about 1.5 square Kilometers.
He said the experts were expected to deliberate on issues affecting the authority and make appropriate recommendations to the council of ministers for their consideration.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, while welcoming the technical and financial partners, said he was optimistic that the leadership of the NBA would lead to the betterment of the people living around the basin.
Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Musa Ibrahim, said the meeting was an opportunity to dialogue with one another towards finding solutions to the problems preventing the full implementation of all policies of the authority.
Adamu said it was saddening to note that the Niger basin area which is rich in its diversity, facing many challenges.
He said there is the need for member countries to promote the development of the region by showing commitment through payment of their contributions.
“In fact, we cannot talk about the development of the River Niger Basin Authority and her regional institution unless we make available the financial resources needed in a timely manner for the work required.
“The repeated delays in the payment of member countries’ contributions have been identified as one of the major constraints in the operation of our institution.”
The minister said the technical and financial partners ought to be encouraged to make adequate funding available, adding that the wellbeing of the people depended on it.
The NBA has nine member countries comprising of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.
The overall population of the basin is approximately 130 million inhabitants, of which 70 per cent are in rural areas, with life expectancy of 50 years.
Due to its ecological and socio-economic importance, the River Niger Basin is an essential asset for the development of the sub-region.

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Environment

African Ministers To Support, Track Nigeria’s WASH Commitment

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African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), has pledged commitment to support Nigeria in actualising its Sanitation And Water For All (SWA) with a view to improving sanitation and hygiene by 2025.
AMCOW’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mr Thomas Banda, said this while receiving members of the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) in Abuja.
The Tide source reports that the Federal Government, through the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had in 2019, pledged the creation of a $122 billion Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) fund to meet the country’s target.
Banda urged member states to align its National sanitation policies in line with the sustainable development goals.
He said that the newly released African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) was a continental guideline that prescribed the benchmark on what a sanitation policy should look like.
“We urge our member states to sit back and review their sanitation policies that are already in place, From our statistics, most of these sanitation policies that were reviewed were done during the MDGs.
“But now that we are talking about the SDGs, for us to achieve the SDG six on accelerated access to sanitation, we really need to make sure that these sanitation policies are very much focused on the SDGs and not the MDGs.
“We also noted that there are quite a lot of gaps in existing policies in the countries, a lot of countries do not have sanitation policy guidelines at all.
“So, we developed the continental ASPG to provide some guidelines to member states, so that they can come up with their own tailor-made sanitation policies,” Bandan said.
He commended NEWSAN on its activities towards supporting the country in scaling up access to improved sanitation and hygiene and pledged to continue to advocate continentally.
He noted that AMCOW’s mandate was continental and Nigeria’s mandate was just one out of its 55 member states, saying the continental progress report done annually showed that Nigeria had some positive trends that showed it was moving in the right trajectory.
“We have heard about the Clean Nigeria campaign, it is a very good initiative and many other indicators that show that it is moving well, but just like any other member states, there are still some challenges.
“A lot of investment gaps, if we are to achieve our water and sanitation related goals in the SDGs, we still have a lot of things to achieve by closing the investment gaps.
“It has been quite a positive visit, ideas have been exchanged, AMCOW as a continental organisation can put in a voice to member states’ aspirations domestically”.
Mr Benson Attah, NEWSAN’s National Coordinator, said the visit was an advocacy to support government’s effort and track commitments made to the Sanitation and Water for All in 2019 which it proposed the establishment of a WASH fund for the country.

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Forum Links Insecurity In West Africa To Global Warming

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The present challenges of insecurity in the West Africa region has been linked to global warming.
This was one of the issues discussed at  a security seminar organised by Coastal Awareness Initiative in Port Harcourt.
The seminar also warned against further vandalisation of oil and gas facilities in the region.
Representative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Olufemi Adetimehin, said West Africa region will experience more crises until the issue of global warming was addressed.
Adetimehinwho’s topic was titled, Global warming in West African Global Communities, said most Rivers in West Africa are drying up.
He particularly said the Lake Chad has lost more than 80 percent of its capacities adding that the situation has led to mass job losses in the region.
According to him, fishing activities as well as farming have been affected by the situation of the Lake Chad
The expert also said the condition of the lake has led to mass migration of herder’s south ward which has resulted in clashes with farmers in the local Communities in the region.
He also said that the activities of terrorist groups have been boasted as more young people are being recruited by terrorist groups in the region.
He listed other effects of climate change in the region to include, food scarcity, increase in malaria infection and increase in sea level which poses threat to coastal communities.
Also speaking, representative of the Nigerian Navy S,O.Emiola said the Navy will improve its synergy with sister security Agencies to improve security on the water ways.
He however said the issues of security on the water ways should not be left alone to one agency.
Representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority called on boat drivers to avoid stormy weather, while use of navigational aid should be encouraged.
He also warned against overspeeding.
Also speaking, Commander Rivers Coast Guard, Captain Amari Godwin, said the event was part of the organization’s activities to sensitise communities on the importance of safety along the water ways.
Godwin said, his group was ready to collaborate with relevant organisations to ensure maritime safety in the state.
Earlier, the overall commander Coastal Awareness Initiative, Captain Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi, said the seminar was to sensitise communities on the dangers of pipeline vandalisation.
Ndubuisi said the event also aimed at promoting healthy and sustainable environment in the Nigerian territorial waters ways.
Also speaking, former councilor, ward four, Port Harcourt city, Mrs Blessings Okowu, urged for the establishment of the Rivers State Coast Guard.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

Stakeholders Want End To Kpo Fire Business

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Some stakeholders in Port Harcourt City and environs have urged the government to check the proliferation of illegal refineries, popularly known as “kpo fire” in the country.
A cross section of stakeholders, who spoke in a voxpop with The Tide said, apart from the environment, the illegal business was an act of economic sabotage.
 They noted that the sooner the government called this economic sabotagers to order, the better it is for the society.
  Mr Joseph Adejo, said the business constitutes a great danger to the society.
He said illegal burning of crude has destroyed the environment. “ If you go to some riverine communities, you cannot see any life vegetation, government should stop it”, he said.
He also called on the government to enact  a law to check the trend.
 Also speaking, another respondent, Miss Joy Oneke, described kpo fire as an illegal business and called on the government to check the trend.
She also said the situation, was affecting the economy of the riverine areas.
According to her ,” kpo fire” business is an evil that should not be encouraged.
 Also speaking, Mrs Eunice Etido said, the proliferation of illegal refineries was a risk to the society, adding that even sooth incident in Port Harcourt environs was being caused by the incesant burning of petroleum products.
 Etido called on the government to check the trend. 
She said fishing business was not booming because of the “kpo fire”, adding that even the mangrove vegetations are all dead.
She also condemned the attitude of the security agencies who burnt and spilled some contents of seized illegal products to the river.
For an environmentalist, miss Blessing Dike, government should rise up to the challenge of checking the proliferation of the business.

By: Inimgba Favour Victor, Elendu-Obochi Esther & Iyanaa Ibama Oribim

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