The eight member-states of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), Nigeria, Cameroun, Guinea, Mali Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Chad, are to pledge $6.44 million towards revitalizing the Basin and improving the lot of the people living therein. This is to be achieved by the implementation of the Operational Plan NBA.
The Basin was established in November 1980 to “promote cooperation between member-countries and ensure an integrated development of the Niger Basin in the areas of hydraulics, energy, agriculture, livestock, fisheries as well as fish farming, forestry and logging.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, who disclosed this during the opening ceremony of the Council of Ministers meeting yesterday in Abuja, criticized the deteriorating state of the basin which was hugely caused by the combined effects of climate and human activities.
In the President’s statement, “This phenomenon is heavily compromising the future of the ever increasing population of the Niger Basin through the intensity and a number of environmental, social and economic problems it is inducing.”
The president also indicated during his speech the ripple effect of reviving the basin: provision of job opportunities for the youths in the areas of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and conservation of the basin’s natural resources. The funds are to also facilitate access to hydro-power and boost agricultural production in the region.
He said by so doing, the institution would contribute to the fight against idleness and lack of future prospects for the youths which could lure them into extremism as observed over the years.
Represented by the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Amina Muhammed, the President said the investment outlay was developed with the active participation of representatives of all member- countries for select 350 investment and capacity building actions, for the benefit of the countries and the basin’s secretariat.
In his remarks, the Chairman of NBA Council of Ministers and Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, emphasized the need for member- countries to contribute at least 10 per cent for the funding of the operational plan, adding that a new sharing formula had been formulated.