Nigeria tasks Niger basin members to end water pollution

Nigerian Government on Thursday urged member states of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) to put measures in place to halt pollution of water resources in the region.

This was the thrust at the ongoing Niger Basin-Iullemeden Taoudeni/Tanezrouft Aquifer System (NB-ITTAS) Regional Validation Workshop on the Standards of Discharge Wastewater in Abuja.

Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said all individuals and organisations must comply and act in the collective interest to improve water quality and protect water resources.

According to him, degradation of water quality and the effects of climate change on water resources are significant concerns of river basin management organisations.

“Indeed, the efficient and integrated management of the water resources available to meet the requirements of the various users in the basin requires our Countries and our Joint Institution, the NBA.

“It is important to state that the evolution of water resources quality in the basin and the discharge of wastewater have to be monitored, given the continuous increase in industrial, mining, and agricultural activities.

“Indeed, wastewater management poses many legal, institutional, financial, economic, and cultural challenges, it follows therefore, that individuals and organizations must comply and act in the collective interest to improve water quality and protect water resources’’.

Adamu, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, said the workshop would propose concrete and standard measures to mitigate the release of pollutants, particularly those of anthropogenic origin.

He reiterated Federal Government’s support and commitment to the implementation process of the UNIDO-TEST component in particular and its NB-ITTAS project in general.

Mrs Alice Ojowu, National Coordinator, National Focal Structure (NFS) Nigeria, said the workshop aimed at validating the draft Wastewater Discharge Standards Project and deepening experiences of water quality monitoring and data basins.

She said Nigeria attached great importance to Integrated Water Resources Management of shared water, hence, its strong commitments to transboundary water organisations like the NBA.

“ It is important to note here, that the River Niger is of special significance to all member Countries who depends on the resources of the river for their livelihood.

“The workshop objectives also include the capitalisation of the experiences in terms of Water Quality Monitoring and Data sharing in basins similar to Niger Basin’’.

Mr Jean Bakole, UNIDO Regional Director, said the NB-ITTAS project is aimed to fight against pollution in the Niger Basin, saying its tools include the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (TEST) methodology.

This, he said was already being deployed in 20 pilot industries in the nine countries of the Niger Basin.

“The aim is to support them in optimising their production costs (consumption of raw materials, energy and water) in order to reduce their pollutant discharges’’.

Bakole however stressed the need for concerted efforts towards improving resilience activities in the river Niger area.

The NBA works to foster cooperation and develop the resources of the basin and the Niger river. Its member countries include; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote Dívoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and chad.

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