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The impediments and solutions for achieving sustainable water management in Nigeria

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The Impediments and Solutions for Achieving Sustainable Water Management in Nigeria

In Nigeria, both surface and ground-water resources play a vital role in the development of urban and rural areas. In a recent report it was estimated that the groundwater potential of aquifers in Nigeria are 100 times the amount found on the surface. Out of the current population of almost 200 million people in Nigeria, more than 95% depend directly on these natural resources for their daily water needs. With the rapid population growth of about 2.5% per annum, the demand for water has progressively increased over the last three decades and it is likely to continue into the future. The provision of safe drinking water has deteriorated in the country, for example, access in urban areas fell from 79 per cent to 74 per cent during the periods 2002-2010. This intolerable downward trend is largely due to poor management frameworks; inadequate technical capabilities and human capacities, insufficient investment and funding. Others are lack of stakeholder participation in the management of water resources and the fragmented nature of institutions responsible for water management in the country.

Rapid population growth and uncontrolled urbanisation further aggravate the increasing magnitude and distribution of the above ground anthropogenic activities that potentially affects the quality and quantity of the available water resources. Uncontrolled urbanisation, dense population concentrations and the ever increasing human activities all severely affect surface and ground-water qualities. This is especially the case across all the states of the federation, where the urban expansion and development are not usually guided by regulations.

Also, major environmental problems such as solid and liquid waste disposal by residents and local businesses, proliferation of pit latrines, and other non-point pollution sources related to anthropogenic activities continually pose a significant threat to the portability of the shallow aquifer systems in Nigeria. These environmental problems are aggravated by rapid population growth and unrestrained urbanisation in the country.

Another problem in Nigeria is stakeholder exclusion in planning and management of water resources at the community, local and state levels. Poor coordination among the various components of the water management system is a major constraint in achieving sustainability in the country. Currently, these factors have an undesirable effect on the effectiveness of the local water management institutions in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja). The singular approaches adopted by the state water agencies in the country have undermined the sustainable utilisation and management of water resources.

Solutions to the intractable issue of unsustainable water management in Nigeria require an integrated strategy and are urgently required. Many other developing nations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have similar issues. The following are the overarching issues that need to be addressed.

The first step in achieving surface and ground-water protection system is by educating the citizenry to create awareness among the populace on the benefits of safe, clean water and the environment. The water sources needed for future development and population growth are being degraded by current waste disposal practices and the pollution needs to be made aware of this to help curb contaminating practices. At the school level the various state governments, through the Ministries of Education and the state primary education boards, all have an important role to play by reviewing the current curriculum and ensuring teachers have the relevant training to boost environmental education in schools across the country.

Presently, the National School Curriculum only recognises health education, integrated science and social studies at pre and post-primary school levels. It is essential to incorporate environmental education into the current curriculum at all levels. At the community level improved education on these issues is also required. Community associations, especially women and youth groups, farmers union, and other relevant groups should be formed to work with the local community leaders in collaboration with the local authorities. In particular, NGOs, various state ministries (Education, Environment, Water Resources and Health) need to take a proactive role in advancing environmental advocacy and awareness creation among the populace via community and interpersonal networks. The general public must be adequately informed. The public cannot be expected to cooperate fully in relation to complex societal problems that are beyond their basic knowledge. The public needs to be informed of the risks associated with improper waste disposal and their effects on water systems now and into the future.

Secondly, the current legislative framework is clearly not producing sustainable results in relation to water management. Authorities must introduce legislation that will regulate surface and ground-water developments and constrain the activities that might compromise their quantity and quality. This is because comprehensive, water legislation offers considerable advantages that provide a legal basis for the effective and sustainable management of the resources base. The legislative framework needs to: (i) provide clear explanation of the roles and responsibilities of all institutions and the relevant stakeholders in the water sector; (ii) ensure creation of water stakeholders, and public-private partnerships; (iii) ensure the advancement of water provision mechanisms based on the social and economic value of water, and (iv) enable pollution control through the formulation and enforcement of communal rules that foster embracing solutions to the prevailing problems and individual initiatives at the community level.

The new legislation should provide for better gender balanced involvement in private water supply regulation, as the current water supply legislation is out of date and controlled by males. It was recently identified by the UN Water that women are typically more response to environmental and social issues. Legislations should clearly state the terms for planning, allocation and conservation of water resources, as well as the level of stakeholder interaction between local communities and institutions.

The 36 state legislative Assemblies should ensure the provision of legislations that will regulate waste disposal and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides on agricultural land in proximity to vulnerable water resources. State environment protection agencies should be conferred with the constituted authority of enforcement and prosecution of perpetrators of inappropriate waste disposal practices and chemical applications. Likewise, the local community leaders, including traditional rulers, should be supported by the local authorities to persuade the local residents to support this scheme, and the responsibility of enforcing at a local community level. Provisions should be put in place to require the lining of all pit latrines in the existing and new development areas by the state (Ministries of Environment and the state Urban Development Boards). The proliferation of pit latrines in residential areas across the Northern region is not regulated, most of the pit latrines are not lined so will continuously contaminate groundwater resources of urban areas. Groundwater supplies in urban areas are import water supplies now and will become increasingly important as the population grows as surface water resources are fully utilised. An integrated urban waste disposal (sewage) system is required.

Presently, in most states of the country fees and services associated with on-site household sanitation facilities are not charged, and the state utilities are not involved in their control. In this regard, the relevant state institutions, in collaboration with the municipal councils, should recognise the need to be involved in regulating on-site household or community-based sanitation facilities. In addition, a long-term plan for the maintenance of on-site sanitation facilities should be supported by a budget. So, the authorities need to urgently assess the real requirements of the appropriate sanitation systems for each area and put plans, policies and budgets in place to maintain these systems if they are to avoid additional groundwater contamination into the future. In achieving progress, all the 36 state assemblies in Nigeria should provide legislations that will prohibit construction of unlined pit latrines in residential areas. Regulations should also be put in place; that will compel households to pay sanitation fees (at least 1% proportionate to the cost of their development) which will be used to subsidise improved latrines with proper technical standards that suits their local conditions.

Thirdly, developing a robust waste management framework that considers the ethics, beliefs and cultural norms of the people is essential in Nigeria. For this reason, all the state and local governments in Nigeria, and all other relevant institutions should adopt and implement programmes that will empower local women and youth groups through beneficial waste management activities. This has multiple benefits as it will ensure the protection of groundwater resources and the environment, which will help to prevent illnesses related to poor sanitary conditions. As an ancillary benefit it will create employment opportunities for jobless women and youths who are typically the lowest income earners. In this regard, a potential site should be chosen by the federal government as the first pilot scheme, and a special task force committee, with state officials, representatives of the local residents and water users, group of youths and women, community leaders, and the local religious groups as well as local NGOs and professional groups, should be formed by the government to mainstream this policy. This should be scaled up in all the states and local councils of the federation.

Fourthly, the existing structure (top-down governance) employed by the various local and state governments as well as the federal government is a major impediment and often results in inconsistency of government policy implementation. Therefore, a more integrated governance framework that brings together the relevant stakeholders (government ministries, water user groups, academia/technical experts and all other relevant institutions) should be put in place, so that water and waste management are handled as a sub-system of a larger planning group, each impacting on the other. Furthermore, the institutional framework for solid-waste management must be addressed, with a view to bringing together the relevant institutional players and clarifying their responsibilities.

In achieving this, the current uncoordinated practices of water and waste management and urban planning as well as other municipal services must be integrated. This is because, these presumed separate entities are interrelated implicitly and need to be managed holistically if environmental degradation and groundwater contamination are to be prevented. The piecemeal approach currently employed is not working. For example, all the 36 state ministries of Water and the Environment should work with the various universities in their domain including any available technical experts to identify and map all the potential pollution sources within cities, in order to protect and effectively manage the water resources of the area concerned.

The various water ministries, in collaboration with the universities in the country, must carry out a comprehensive monitoring programme to identify trends in water quality and quantity. This information must be made accessible to the Ministries of Health and all relevant agencies and the relevant stakeholders alike. Likewise, the various urban development boards in the country can work closely with the Ministries of the Environment in formulating policies that will mitigate the impact of new development on the environment. This co-ordination will contribute significantly, and it will lead to the development of sustainable pollution prevention and control strategies.

Fifthly, to ensure sustainable management of water resources in Nigeria, there is the need for greater ties between the various national and regional institutions. For example, regional disparities exist in cooperation among the riparian countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroun). These countries have signed multitudes of multilateral agreements for the sustainable management of transboundary aquifers. Similarly, the countries in West Africa (Economic Community of West African States) can cooperate with others in the eastern (East African Community) and southern (Southern African Development Community) Africa region for the development and adoption of the Africa Regional Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Thus, local water protection activities need to be planned in harmony with the broader regional policy framework as well as the global policy on sustainable development (Agenda 2030). There is the need for greater ties and commitment between external stakeholders (international development partners) and the federal government of Nigeria. There are number of international development partners working in Nigeria; providing support in health, education, rural development, social and development issues, and water-sanitation.
Still, it is imperative to increase the existing bilateral ties especially with the local communities. Development partners need to deepen their commitments at the community level, especially in the areas of education, capacity building, and advocacy on sustainable water management issues. Also, development partners needs to further support the state and national institutions in the areas of manpower development, international and local policy development, and institutional capacity building among others. Increased institutional capacity at the federal, state, and local levels will ensure sustainable management of water resources in Nigeria.

The federal, states, and local governments have committed to improving the access to safe, clean, and affordable water in the country. However, despite their commitments, the Millennium Development Goals for access to water and sanitation remained unrealistic at the end of 2015. Therefore, in attaining the goals and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now and in the near future, the various governments need to fully comprehend the need for prioritising the water resource management agenda in their development policies. Also, the various governments must ensure effective implementation of water policies and strategies, and the strict enforcement of water legislations. It is equally important, for the sake of sustainable water resource management, to ensure that there are adequate returns from cost recovery to finance data collection, monitoring of system status, and resources management.

Dr. Ali Bakari is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Geology, Bayero University Kano, Nigeria

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Opinion

APC National Convention: it is irresponsible To Call For Sack Gov. Buni Led CECPC

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APC National Convention: It is irresponsible to call for sack Gov Buni led CECPC

Yusuf Ali

It is irresponsible to call for sack of the well constituted and highly celebrated action-packed Governor Buni led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, All Progressives Congress over the planned national convention of the party. Uptil now, the CECPC has not told anybody that it is not going to conduct the party’s national convention after it has successfully conducted Ward, Local and State Congresses as it said that it is only embarking on nationwide consultations with Party leaders and stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.

It is very wrong for anybody to say that Governor Buni is holding on to the seat to score political goals. For the avoidance of doubt, Buni is a sitting governor that has his second term fully secured in 2023 if he decides to run. The people of Yobe state who overwhelmingly voted for him in 2019 are extremely happy and ready to return him to consolidate on the solid transformation of Yobe state as truly the pride of the Sahel.

Let me say that this call for the sack of the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee amounts to playing dirty politics, and it is cheap and irresponsible. In fact, Nothing can be more irresponsible and reckless, as such a statement. Nobody in his right senses will call for the sack of the focused and result-oriented Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee.

The Governor Buni led CECPC was legally constituted by the 8th resumed of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress APC which constituted the Caretaker Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee in place of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. It has performed tremendously well in rebuilding and repisitioning the party for greatness. No amount of hysterical calls for resignation will prevent it from carrying out its constitutional mandate. As a progressive governing party guided by its rules, the CECPC will continue to take the right steps and follow due process in carrying out its activities, in this case the planned national convention is sacrosanct. The APC as a party for all will continue to act on its words.

Let it be known that the Governor Buni led CECPC is not in anyway against the conduct of the all-important exercise as planned it only wanted a rancour-free national convention. If some of the pending issues related to fallout of the Congresses in some states are not amicably resolved it will further polarise the party during and even after the convention. The focus remains that achieving and sustaining the APC Caretaker Committee’s peace and reconciliation core mandate wrapping up with credible national convention is all the more gratifying.

Before the CECPC, the governing party is on the verge of collapse and disintegration. As the Chairman of the CECPC, Governor Buni has been a steady hand in troubled times, and that explains why leading the governing All Progressives Congress at a most turbulent period, he has managed the crisis to bring peace to the party and safe it from disintegration, and even set it on a trajectory of success for the coming national convention and ahead of the 2023 general elections.

For a large and governing party with so many crisis points and conflicting interests like the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni has always toed the line of compromise, temperance and internal democracy as well as tackled internal squabbles when they have occured as a family affair. He is a stabilising factor and voice that is generally accepted and has successfully forged a common ground among all the interests in the governing party.

Governor Buni is well positioned to stabilize the party and ensure synergy between the party, members and the government. He has shown a capacity to steer the party to stability and remains a strategic political asset to the APC and government.

Buni is not a dictator. As the Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, because of his background, he has listened, engaged, accommodated and gave a sense of belonging to every member of our great party.

As a principled leader, Buni has always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills in the execution of his responsibilities. It is this power of persuation, tact and diplomacy that endeared him to his colleagues (Governors), and all the leaders of the party across the country.

He has brought his natural abilities as a gentleman, peacemaker and a stabilizing voice to resolve many disagreement and Internal conflict in the party.

Hon. Mai Mala Buni has ensured that meeting of party organs under the CECPC are held regularly. It is only when the party’s leadership meet constantly that it will agree and disagree on issues and resolve matters in the interest of the party.

Buni has used his position to ensure a strong and progressive party institution that will continue to make Nigeria great and will continue to bring the party together becsuse he is focused and knows the issues.

Hon Mai Mala Buni has written his name in gold as he takes on the bold steps in rebuilding and repositioning APC ahead of the national convention and the 2023 general elections.

He has designed a medium, and long term development of our strategies and internal organization to support our public standing as well as our chances of electoral successes in all future elections.

Yusuf Ali Media Officer APC Headquaters Abuja

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Gov. Buni Leading APC To Victory

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Gov. Buni leading APC to victory

Yusuf Ali

  1. Hon Mai Mala Buni is not a dictator. As the Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, because of his background, he has listened, engaged, accommodated and gave a sense of belonging to every member of our great party.
  2. Hon Mai Mala Buni has always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills in the execution of his responsibilities. It is this power of persuation, tact and diplomacy that endeared him to his colleagues (Governors) and all the leaders of the party across the country.
  3. Hon Mai Mala Buni has brought his natural abilities as a gentleman, peacemaker and a stabilizing voice to resolve many disagreement and Internal conflict in the party.
  4. Hon Mai Mala Buni has prominent people from the North, South, East and West. It means he is a rallying point at the center.
  5. Hon Mai Mala Buni, the support he has flows from knowledge of the understanding of his person because he has been fortunate to work with his colleagues (Governors) and all the stakeholders, members and teeming supporters of the APC.
  6. Hon Mai Mala Buni has ensured that meeting of party organs under the CECPC are held regularly. It is only when the party’s leadership meet constantly that it will agree and disagree on issues and resolve matters in the interest of the party.
  7. Hon Mai Mala Buni has used his position to ensure a strong and progressive party institution that will continue to make Nigeria great.
  8. Hon Mai Mala Buni will continue to bring the party together because he is focused and he knows the issues.
  9. Hon Mai Mala Buni has written his name in gold as he take on the bold steps in rebuilding and repositioning APC ahead of the national convention and the 2023 general elections.
  10. Hon Mai Mala Buni has designed a medium, and long term development of our strategies and internal organization to support our public standing as well as our chances of electoral successes in all future elections.

Yusuf Ali Media Officer APC Headquaters Abuja

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Opinion

Re: Buni, Malami Move To Block Convention, Governors Rise Against interim Party Chair

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RE: Buni, Malami Move To Block Convention, Governors Rise Against Interim Party Chair

By Yusuf Ali

These days, so many people are saying so many things; indulging mostly in sponsored attacks, and ficticious lies in the pages of Newspapers on the activities of Governor Buni led CECPC, and as spokepersons, we make the deliberate choice of staying out of the most part because it is not worth replying.

But it is hard to ignore the above publication in the Punch Newspaper of 12 January, 2022 which, according to the reports, a party leader who confided to their correspondents is making the false claims that Governor Buni and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN are delaying the APC National Convention because he (Governor Buni) has a Vice Presidential ambition. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are concious of the devilish plans being orchestrated by some mischievous elements to cause disaffection between our leaders and to distract the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee from it’s national assignments of putting the APC family house in order ahead of the national convention.

It is important to note that, at the level the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee is working, there should be no need to be doubtful about whether our great party, APC will be having it’s national convention after successfully completed the Ward, Local and State Congresses.

It will be recall that after the end of the year 2021 meeting of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) on Monday, December 20, 2021 and in the APC 2022 New Year Message, both signed by the Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, there was confirmation that planning for the National Convention has commenced. Members and the general public have been put on notice that relevant committees will be setup. The only problem hindering the Governor Buni led CECPC to move to the next level is the unresolved issues of reconciliation in some states. Although the Senator Abdullahi Adamu led National Reconciliation Committee is working round the clock to meet it’s dateline, the reality is that it’s not advisable for the governing APC, a party with so many crisis points and conflicting interests to go for national convention with a divided house.

This is the truth of the matter and not the ficticious lies some people are dishing to misled gullible Nigerians.

For the avoidance of doubts, Governor Mai Mala Buni has not told anybody that he has a presidential ambition. These are mere speculations in the Newspapers. Governor Buni has accepted to serve as the APC Chairman Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) because of his love and loyalty to the party that promised brighter days for Nigeria and all Nigerians. He is contributing in this capacity to help develop a strong progressive party institution that can be impactful in the local, state and the national level. He has devoted his life, energy and time to be able to do that. When he is working rebuilding and repositioning the party, first thing comes first. We have to have a structure first. If people start with rebuilding a party today and deciding to become a presidential candidate tomorrow, actually you are trying to destroy the basis of rebuilding the party, because everybody will have ambition.

There are time for everything and Governor Mai Mala Buni has no ambition. As a practicing Muslim and faith in God, he knows that leadership belongs to Almighty God, He gives it whom He wills and takes it from whom He wills none has power to out pass His verdicts. But let it be known that Governor Buni has no ambition. He has not told anyone that he wants to be President or Vice President.

At this juncture, it is important to point out that Governor Mai Mala Buni is not an ambitious politician but a leader with all the qualities of leadership. It is on record that leadership positions and responsibilities was always entrusted on him because of his judgement and respected for his expertise, integrity, etc and hence followed and not because he hold a certain position. He was APC Chairman Yobe State, National Secretary and today by the special grace of God he is serving Governor and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, positions that he has never aspired but entrusted on him because of his leadership qualities.

At this level and time, what the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee needs is support from across party ranks to achieve maximum reconciliation for the governing party to go for the national convention as one united family ahead of the 2023 general elections.

We must also acknowledged the marvellous achievements of the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee, attracting three serving Governors to APC and reconciling many aggrieved members that added to the strength of the party. APC is growing in leaps and bounds.

As the Governor Buni led CECPC prepares for the national convention, we appeal to every party member and supporter to seek above everything else the unity and peace of this great party. The party must remain a strong political entity before, during and after the convention.

We should not forget the bigger challenge ahead of us in 2023, the presidential election without Buhari on the ballot. We cannot go into it divided nor can we win the trophy in such a state. We should all uphold the ideas of the party and give it unflinching support for it’s affairs as we journey into the national convention.

Yusuf Ali Media Officer All Progressives Congress APC Headquarters Abuja

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