The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has called for international support to ramp up development efforts in the Niger Basin area which is currently home to more than 160 million people who depend on the River for their livelihoods.
Buhari said this in Abuja on Thursday while declaring open the virtual 12th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority.
This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled ‘President Buhari calls for global support to develop Niger Basin.’
According to the statement, the President said the Niger River offers enormous development opportunities in fish farming, animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing, hydropower, hydraulics and navigation.
‘‘It is, therefore, necessary to continue to promote its enormous potential for the benefit of our people, and to improve the socio-economic development of the region.’’
He thanked the Technical and Financial Partners, including the African Development Bank, the Global Environment Fund, the German Financial Cooperation, for identifying with the vision and projects of the authority.
He also urged them to keep supporting efforts at developing the Niger Basin in the fight against pollution and the degradation of ecosystems.
As outgoing Chairman of the NBA Leaders’ Summit, Buhari gave account of his five-year term leading the organization.
He said ‘‘Excellencies, it has been a privilege to lead this Summit of Heads of State and Government for the past five years, since you all unanimously endorsed me as the Chairman at the 11th Summit held in Cotonou, Benin Republic on 8th January 2016 to lead our common Institution.
‘‘Of the several decisions taken at the Summit, only the decision on funding of the NBA 2016-2024 Operational Plan is yet to be fully implemented.
‘‘It is pertinent to note that there are some ongoing programmers like support to Ground Water Management in Niger Basin, project II to strengthen NBA and its Member Countries’ technical capacity and human resources for improving transboundary groundwater resource management in the Niger Basin.
He enumerated other ongoing programmers including the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Niger Basin financed by the AfDB, GEF, KFW and NBA Member Countries.
He explained that the climate change programme will cover the nine NBA member-countries- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.
The President also thanked the outgoing Executive Secretary, Abderahim Hamid, for serving the Authority, adding that the 12th Summit is expected to appoint a new Executive Secretary and a Chairman.
“At this Summit, my tenure as the Chairman Summit of Heads of State and Government of our common institution comes to an end as I will hand over to a new Chairman.
“I urge you to extend maximum cooperation to the new Chairman for the continued smooth running of our Institution.”