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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: The hurdles before Gov. Mai Mala Buni

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APC : The hurdles before Gov. Mai Mala Buni 

By Haruna Yusuf Abuja


His excellency, Mai Mala Buni the executive Governor of Yobe state, came to Apc limelight at the epic of ravaging crisis that made president Muhammadu Buhari move against oshiomhole to save the party from the verge of disintegration. When NEC immediately dissolved NWC and sworn in Gov. Buni as the caretaker/convention committee chairman to reconcile all the aggrieved members and bring back sanity to the party. 
Gov. Buni’s journey through reconciling aggrieved members, revamping and bringing sanity back to APC is commendable. Though there are groups or individuals breeding hostile propaganda and trying to discredit the led committee of Buni.  One thing is certain, Mai Mala Buni is known by majority as the architect of the process of change that “houses the essence of hope” to all and sundry. And he was also among the APC generals in the common sense revolution Army that brought APC to power in 2015 general elections and remained thorn in the flesh of the powerful opposition.                     Why he was chosen to chair as the caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee in the epic crisis was his astuteness and all-inclusive service delivery mandate in achieving results silently (obviously) he delivers without fuss, solve problems and deliver solutions too,  he is innovative and above all, inspire people.
Buni is known as Mr Fixer and they’re not common, every nation or society boasts only a handful of them, they have become even more harder to find this days, when the common measure for “strong” is how loud and for weak is how quite, his achievements have been loud from days memorial as a grassroot and dogged politicians with the interest of people first above every other interest. 
His excellency, Mai Mala Buni the executive Governor of Yobe state and Chairman APC is bold, Courageous and always ahead of his political rivals and ever willing to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chat the critical path to total political emancipation of the people. There is, therefore,  “another great  opportunity to salute his rare courage of conviction and sense of purpose” since his assumption of office as the Apc chairman caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee on 26 June 2020 is a timely service to APC history.
There are straight opinions about the performance of the APC chairman caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee in the past 4 months of appointment, though majority over scored him, while some applaud his astuteness and all-inclusive style of leadership in carrying everyone along irrespective of region or status. 
This past week meetings with 36 states party chairmen and FCT is a further testimony to the fact that Buni’s chaired reconciliation committee take cognizance of his members and flat playing ground for everyone, in the decision making and taking the party to the level of the progressives. A party that is run with the understanding and inputs of it members. A practical expression of the beauty of leadership and transparency, which he sworn to defend revive bring back lost sanity and uphold at all times.

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Sheikh, Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin’s Biography and Journey through Qur’anic/Western Education, Amidst Philanthropic legacy

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Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin’s Biography and Journey through Qur’anic/Western Education, Amidst philanthropic legacy 
By Haruna Yusuf 

Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin is the Son of the late prominent scholar/cleric Sheikh Abubakar El-Miskin. Abulfathai was Born in the year 1970 in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. At the age of 3 he began the Journey of his Qur’anic Education, under the supervision of Mallam Goni Bukar kuru, between 1973/1980 when he was able to recite 2 verses (hizu) of the Holy Quran. He was later transfered to Mallam Dan Kelluri’s Sangaya (Boarding school) and between 1980/1988 he was able to complete his Qur’anic education and memorised it. 
After completing his Qur’anic education, he was sent back to his Namesake the popular Sheikh Abulfathai to get the knowledge of Tafsir (Qur’an  Translation) in Hausa the common and most spoken Nigeria language among others. Books written by great Islamic scholars for more enlightenment, from the period from 1990/1997. He was able to gain the knowledge of translating the same Tafsir(Qur’an translation) From Hausa to Kanuri the Kanem Borno language of all times. The Books that helps him understand translations properly was gotten from his late Father Sheikh Abubakar El-Miskin and Sheikh Sheriff Tijjani from 1998/1999.
Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin began his western education and exploration in the year 2000 when he enrolled into high Islamic college and completed in 2002  and got his secondary certificate and forged ahead to obtain his National Diploma certificate in Islamic studies in 2002/2005 and continued with his Degree programmes in Islamic studies in University of Maiduguri from 2006/2010. He went ahead to obtain his Master Degree in the same university of Maiduguri from 2012/2014. The sheikh never rest his hoax in obtaining his Doctorate Degree (PhD) Dr. From university of Cotonou in 2015/2016 maintaining the same Islamic studies throughout his educational Journey and that’s why he is one of the best.
Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin is a renowned scholar, preacher and a philanthropist an astute manager of people irrespective of status or political affiliation, easy to access and broadminded, listening ears and full with wisdom. He always extend his benevolent hands towards the needy and vulnerable across not minding and contributing Immensely to the environment and state at large. 
He is the chairman of Tijjaniya youth enlightenment initiative of Borno state chapter, and he is also one among the 10(Ten) Members of the board of trustee of Tijjaniya in Nigeria. 
What makes Borno aka Kanem Borno empire special?  Kanem Borno is powerful, advanced and extremely wealthy, it has strong military and some brilliant officials and youths and massive territorial and commercial empire. Moreover, people in the empire have a keen sense of history, as shown by their decision to record the reigns of their kings. The introduction of writing reinforced thus cultural sophistication, Kanem Borno must rank among the great African empires of the second millennium.
Why Borno have the best Islamic scholars and the origin and development of Kanem Borno
The empires roots lies in the state of kanem, which  was created in the eight century between lake chad and the Bar el-Ghazal in the region of kanem in the modern – day chad. This state then conquered land in the north, enabling the creation of a Trans-Saharan empire. It was a major regional power, with embassies in Morocco and Othman empire in Tripoli, in the fourteenth century, the centre of the empire moved away from kanem to Borno when kanem was captured by the empire’s enemies, although kanem was retaken in the sixteenth century, the imperial capital remained in Borno. This is why it is called Kanem-Borno.
Religion; Islam and Traditional Beliefs 
Since the eleventh century, the ruler of kanem Borno had being Muslim, the empire became famous for its Mosques (Masjids) and the pilgrimages to Mecca made by its leaders, since the fifteenth century, the emperor called himself (Caliph) meaning the ruler of all Muslims, but despite this, traditional religion persisted for a longtime. For example, a sacred Pre-islamic object called the “Mune” was honored until the thirteenth century, we should think religion in the empire as a mix of Islamic and traditional elements.
Writing and Recording History.
The rulers of kanem Borno were very good at recording their history, since the ninth century, the names and ancestry of the kings of Kanem were recorded orally. The introduction of Islam and Arabic writing meant that things went a step further, with the beginning of a written record. A chronicle of kings, the (Diwan) or (Girgam) was written from the sixteenth or perhaps the thirteenth century until the nineteenth. This is a very important source for historians, both because it covers such a large period of time and because other written records are rare. Therefore, the Diwan/Girgam shows how advanced the kanem Borno Empire was by the standard of its time. 

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Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling

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Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling

By Haruna Yusuf 

Today marks 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Nigeria gained her independence on 1st October 1960. Nigeria is among the 17 African countries who seek liberation and got their independence, as Ghana got hers in1957, 3 years before Nigeria. 


Nigeria is among the largest, if not the largest country in Africa with the population of about 180million people with different cultural backgrounds, heritages and believes. Nigeria with it’s diversify, abundant natural and human resources, yet rated the third country with the most poorest individuals as citizens.  

Nigeria’s recent history has been a mixed picture of partial progress and woeful setbacks, marked by democratic stability, economic woes, corruption and pocket of progress amid development, education and damning health challenges among others.

Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as citizens narrowly escaped from colonial dominations and slavery only to enter into a new and premeditated covert era of resources exploitation and subjection. 


Nigeria with all modesty witnessed a peaceful transfer of power in its recent elections, in which President Muhammdu Buhari the incumbent defeated Good luck Ebele Jonathan in a tight presidential race in 2015. 
Good luck Jonathan faced tribulations from the present ruling all progressive congress (APC) which was the powerful opposition, accusation of financial mismanagement, abuse of political power, lack of will to settle the issues of insecurity, health, power and unemployment among other issues that was holding Nigeria to ransom, but now, reverse is the case. 


Nigeria was one of Africa’s giant and most dynamic economics for many years after independence during the military era of Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was the largest coco export in Africa. But six decades on, Nigeria is mired in problems, still struggling to build an economic model that encourages enduring growth, addresses poverty and provides a future for its youth.
Youth “explosion” the most dangerous and consuming factor facing [email protected] the moment. ” The most striking change for me, is the increasing reality of disaffected youth- a younger population that is ready to explode at any slightest opportunity. They’re hungry for political emancipation of freedoms, they’re hungry for economic opportunities and they’re hungry for social fulfilment.


Joblessness is a major  peril, unemployed youths are the easiest prey for armed groups, especially the decade nightmare engulfing the peace and stability of Nigeria especially in the northeast (Boko Haram) Northwest/ central the kidnappers and armed bandits while the south/east the rising cultism, ritualist and rape among others. The Jihadi movements in the sahel became a stumbling block for development and dividend of democracy. This may always be tempted to risk clandestine emigration, often at the cost of their dare lives. 


Poverty, injustice and inequality is the greatest factor crippling the peace and stability of Nigeria. A country bound by a repugnance and remorseful constitution that seems applicable to only the vulnerable and irrelevant in the society. A country so blinded by hate and cumulating sentimentalists, a country where “everyone else” is a hypocrite in his/her own way. A country with so many educated illiterates and maybe a country with many delusional and deranged ideologist.


If and only, we can trace and see in the realm of Nigeria, not through but above our noses how blessed this country is, both in human and natural resources, then and there,we’ll have embraced nature and make a better part out of our miserable life.


The bleak future and clouded uncertainties we found ourselves in, is a manmade and calculated proportion that could’ve been averted if we ever had wished to be contained, but we are blinded by hatred for one another and tied to sentiment and inflicted by our delusional ideologies of divide and rule instead of oneness and coexistence.


It is a pity to say, but it’s quite unfortunate in a normal view that politics is unrelated to our every day life, the country of Nigeria has three embodied arms of Government that the average person knows nothing about and should’ve a problem with, especially when it comes to the political publicity and awareness. The undiluted truth about Nigeria political system isn’t always about the people that it suppose to be as constituted in democracy nor the Government that supposed to be for the people, by and with the people. But ultimate “power” to extort and subject the same people tribulation. 


Corruption is a monster that has brought about catastrophic setbacks and maiming of millions of vulnerable Nigerians from independence to military dictatorship to this acclaimed present day democrazy. 


Nigeria has not recovered from the diabolic thievery of Abatcha and his acolytes, thousands have died perhaps more than in a holocaust, thousands are still dying due to our potholes on the roads, insecurity, lack of portable drinking water, medical healthcare facilities among others.


Corruption in Nigeria is more of malicious than civil war, communal clashes and Boko haram combined. Our politicians always have their ways through the maze by bribing and buying the conscience of the electorates. 


Democracy and Nigeria are like Siamese twins, through conjoined very maneuvering, they are uncomfortable and under intense pressure that could result in all forms of hurt, even death, although, democracy may not be strange to an overwhelming percentage of Nigerians, what may be strange to them is the brand of democracy that invests, first and foremost in human and material resources for purposes of political stability, economic viability, scientific advancement, technical breakthrough, educational development and life-enhancing social services, given the general optimism that Nigeria was going to be the  bastion of democracy in Africa.
A lot has to be done and some has to be let go, before we can come out of the spirit of crippling and stagnating bondages.   

A piece by Haruna Yusuf the publisher of Daily Hint Newspapers 

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