The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has urged management of the ministry and heads of River Basin Development Authorities to prioritise completion of all pending water projects within five years.
Adamu made the call in a communiqué issued on Monday, January 27, 2020 in Abuja after a Management Retreat for Heads of Parastatals and Agencies under the ministry held in Calabar at the weekend.
He said that it was his desire to accomplish some priority deliverables within 2019 and 2023.
He charged them to re-double their efforts toward contributing to the realisation of the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
According to him, the projects include the ongoing dams and irrigation projects, finalise and implement the flood management master plan for River Niger and River Benue.
“Also aggressively implement the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme and achieve Open Defecation-free Nigeria by 2025.’’
The minister said that this would be done in active collaboration with the private sector to create many well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths and support the implementation of water management and Water Settlement Projects in the National Livestock Transportation Plan (NLTP).
He said that the ministry had initiated National Irrigation Development Programme aimed at establishing 100,000 hectares of irrigated farmland in 2020 and 500,000 hectares by 2030.
“There is planned additional 1,000,000 hectares of irrigable land to be developed by the Private Sector and state governments within the same period, this is in order to aid diversification of the economy, guarantee Food Security and create employments.’’
He said the ministry undertook technical audit of the inherited 116 major uncompleted and abandoned projects for prioritisation and completion, “where it was discovered that – Irrigation and Drainage has 38, Dams has 37, and Water Supply has 41 uncompleted projects.’
He expressed worry that substantial resources were deployed toward their completion and commissioning.
“The ministry has completed and commissioned 13 Water supply projects, nine other dams and 10 water supply projects which were initiated and completed, and they are ready for commissioning.
“Many irrigation projects are billed to be completed between now and 2021.’’
Adamu said that in pursuant to the road map, the ministry was able to record some achievements within the available resources.
The achievements include approvals through the Federal Executive Council of National Water Resources Bill, National Water Resources Policy and National Irrigation and Drainage Policy.
“The roadmap will enable sustainable positive impact in the Water Sector within a short period based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) framework,’’ he said.
The roadmap includes the conclusion of Draft National Water Policy, National Irrigation and Drainage Policy and National Water Policy Bills.
Others are Organisational and Manpower Review of the ministry toward repositioning it for enhanced service delivery and the identification of dams with Hydro Power potential for development.
By Tosin Kolade