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FG denies privatisation of Dams

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Dams

Abuja, March 12, 2019 The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu on Tuesday denied claims that it was privatising the nation’s dams, saying what was being done was hydropower concessioning.

Adamu said this at the opening of a Media Water Sector Workshop in Abuja.

According to him, what is being done is to give partial ownership to beneficiaries to develop the hydro power component for the overall benefit of Nigerians.

“We are not concessioning dams, when we concession, we are concessioning the hydro power component of the dam but the dam itself will still be owned by the Federal Government.

“What we do is to provide some leasing arrangement for cage fish farming and all others, we concession hydropower for aquaculture.”

Adamu said the concessioning model, being facilitated by the Infrastructure Concessioning and Regulatory Commission and Bureau of Public Enterprises allows a concessionaire to take custody of the project for a period of time as determined by the financial analysis.

He added that the concessionaire would be responsible for generating hydro power and connecting it to the transmission network made available by the Transmission Company of Nigeria for distribution.

On Gurara Dam, Adamu said the ministry was negotiating with the preferred and reserved bidder in line with the guidelines of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), to drive the processes to benefit Nigerians.

He said that the rule in the guidelines of ICRC stipulated that a Transaction Adviser be involved in the processes.

“We have concluded that of Gurara where we have 30 megawatts of hydro power plant, all the processes leading to the concessioning have been done, what is left is for us to present it to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

“We still have to wait because the transmission line is not working and it is not within the purview of the ministry, it is taken by Transmission Company of Nigeria

“A lot of progress has been made, we hope that by the end of this year, something will happen.”

The minister stressed that shortlisted firms had been given their request for proposal and analysed in choosing the preferred and reserved bidder.

He expressed hope that successive administration would ride on what was being done, saying with the coming in of the private sector operators in irrigation, through the Graduate and Youth Empowerment Scheme, more hectares would be achieved.

Mr Benson Ajisegiri, the Director, Water Supply, with the ministry, said efforts in improving access to water and sanitation led to the inauguration of the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme (PEWASH).

Ajisegiri, represented by Mr Abdulhamid Gwaram, said so far, 22 states had indicated interest and signed the PEWASH Protocol, noting that implementation had started in Kano and Ogun states.

Mrs Oyeronke Oluniyi, the Deputy Director, Irrigation and Drainage Department, said that the ministry was working to see that irrigated agriculture was promoted in parts of the country.

According to her, so far, part of the intervention is the Bakolori Irrigation Scheme in Zamafara which has reached 40 per cent completion and has been able to cultivate no fewer than 528,000 tonnes of rice and other cereals.

Oluniyi called for support from stakeholders to enable the ministry meet its target of irrigation for national development.

Earlier, the Director, Press and Public Relations with the ministry, Mrs Kenechukwu Offie, said the aim of the workshop was to educate the media on better reportage of the ministry and its activities.

She said this was also an opportunity to equip the media with the modern styles and dynamics of quality water reporting.

Environment

LASEPA seals 8 worship centres over environment pollution

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The Lagos State Government on Sunday closed down eight worship centres across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations.

Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who led the exercise, said that the facilities were closed down to save the people from health crisis that might arise from the activities of the centres.

The LASEPA boss said that there would be no hiding place for any religious organisation which failed to operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the sealed facilities are located at 68, Old Ota Road, Orile Agege; 4, Ademola Oshinowo Street, Off Love Street, Ketu; 1 Dele Amuda Street, Lekki.

Others are 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga; 39, Kusenla Road, Elegushi and Ajayi Bembe Street Abule Oja, Yaba, among others.

Fasawe said that mutual respect of views, culture and religion, which the annual tolerance day celebration symbolised, must be adhered to by all residents to foster peace.

She said that religious organisations were supposed to demonstrate good conduct, tolerance, brotherliness and good neighbourliness.

The general manager, however, regretted that the conduct of some overzealous churches and mosques had caused frictions in the society.

She assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a good ambience to all inhabitants.

“ Those recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagos residents, will face the full wrath of the law.

“In as much as the state government is positively disposed to the peaceful conduct of religion of choice by its citizens, it does not condone infringements on the rights of other residents in the name of religious activities.

“The agency is inundated with petitions and outcry from residents over the insensitivity and intolerance of some religious outlets in different parts of the state.

“LASEPA regrettably notes that several warnings issued to the management of these centres have not yield the result,” Fasawe said.

According to her, the state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the religions.

“But of great concern to the state government is the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers will not infringe on others’ rights,’’ Fasawe said.

She added that the illegal and unauthorised conversion of residential property into religious uses without recourse to the wellbeing of others and the state environment law was bad.

She said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was against such inhuman act of social intolerance in the name of worship that could breach the peace in the state.

Fasawe explained that for the sealed facilities to be reopened, the leaders of those organisations must reach an agreement of compliance with the state and also satisfy other necessary conditions as might be prescribed by LASEPA.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Wale Ojetimi

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Environment

Open defecation can increase rate of sexual assault on children, women — Minister

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Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment said on Saturday that Open Defecation (OD) could lead to an increase in the rate of sexual assault on children and women.

Ikeazor made this known at the 2019 World Toilet Day 10,000 Man-March against Open Defecation in Nigeria, held in Abuja.

She said that many women and girls were being sexually assaulted as they defecated in the bush.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Toilet for All: Focusing on leaving no one behind”.

The 10,000 man-march was a roadshow organised by the ministry from Area 1 roundabout to the old parade ground in Area 3, Garki, Abuja to demonstrate the need to end open defecation in the country.

Participants in the roadshow included civil servants, primary and secondary school children, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Gbagi youths.

Ikeazor, who was represented by Mr Peter Daniang, the Director of Human Resources in the ministry said that the roadshow was in commemoration of the forthcoming World Toilet Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly to hold on every Nov. 19.

She said that unsafe and unclean toilets could cause various problems including the spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea and, hepatitis.

“The sanitation crisis that exists in many parts of the country and the impact it has on human beings and nature cannot be ignored.

“The ministry is urging each and every one of you to redouble your efforts in ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to toilet, leaving no one behind,’’ she said.

Mr Theodore Nwaokwe, the Director, Environmental Management in the ministry said that the march was one of the strategies that the government had put in place to create awareness on the need for every house to have a toilet.

According to him, there are several advantages attached to every household having a toilet.

He added that open defecation could lead to death, among other things.

“Ordinarily, the government is not to provide toilets for the people.

“If government were to build toilets in some locations, it should be like a pilot project showing people the kind of toilet they should build.’’

Dr Edwin Edeh, the National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria said that the march was a significant one as sanitation was necessary to human health.

According to Edeh, the theme for this year’s world toilet day is significant to WHO because it will help the organisation to galvanise actions among stakeholders and people at various levels to address open defecation in Nigeria.

He said that WHO had done a lot to support the government in the area of advocacy, training, pilot intervention on water and sanitation.

“WHO trained more than 230 women on domestic hygiene and sanitation in Edo and Ondo states.

“We have also trained 100 environmental officers and 200 community volunteers among others in Nigeria,” he added.

Some participants at the programme, who called for proper handwashing to prevent the spread of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera, also urged community leaders to ensure that people in their areas had access to toilets to eradicate open defecation.

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Environment

FG has commissioned no fewer than 700 water projects in Ogun, Kano states – Adamu

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PEWASH

Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 Mr Suileman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, says the Federal Government has commissioned no fewer than 700 water projects in Ogun and Kano states in the last two years.

Adamu, who disclosed this at the Nigeria News Agency forum in Abuja on Friday, said the projects were under the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation & Hygiene (PEWASH).

NAN recalls that PEWASH was launched by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in 2016 in a bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Six and to address the challenges being faced in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sub-sector.

Cue in audio 1

“I think the people of Ogun and Kano, which are the two pilot states that we started with will tell you because two days ago, I received a nice letter from a community in Ogun state appreciating what we have done.

“Between the two states, we have rehabilitated or commissioned over 700 water schemes in the last two years, so that will tell you something.

“We are also working with Ondo state. Now we have 26 or 27 states that have subscribed to PEWASH. So we are stepping it up.

“We are discussing with the World Bank with additional funding so we will be able to expand to reach other states.

“So, the two pilot states we have done have been very very successful.’’

Adamu said that funding and commitment from state governments were required to sustain the PEWASH programme.

Cue in audio 2

“There are two key issues that will sustain this programme, one is funding.

“If we can get the required funding in our appropriation at the federal level and the states are ready to provide the matching grants that we said they must provide under the PEWASH we are good to go.

“Secondly, it is for the states to continue to make it a priority that water and sanitation sector is a priority. If they do that then I believe the PEWASH programme will make serious impact eventually.

`We also need the support of development partners up till now we have not received any commitment from them except from the World Bank that is willing to provide about 350 million dollars.

“And after this interview, the new Country Director of World Bank is coming to be visiting and one of the things I will tell him is to step up, we need much more than that.

“We requested for about 700 million dollars targeted at rural communities. This has been the efforts the Federal Government has been making but it does not supplant the responsibilities of the states.

“They should be doing their own beat and that is what we hope they will continue to do.’’

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Minister urges state govts. to declare state of emergency on WASH

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Mr Sulieman Adamu, the Minister Water Resources has called on State Governments to declare state of emergence on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in their various states.

Adamu made the called at the Nigeria News Agency Forum on Friday in Abuja.

In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 8, declared a state of emergency in the sector and emphasised that Nigeria must end open defecation by 2025.

“For Nigeria to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the country by 2025, it is imperative for water and sanitation facilities to be in place.’’

Cue in Audio

“We want state governments to also declare a state of emergence on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene the way the President declared same on Nov. 8, last year.

“The latest state that I have heard that has done so is Kastina state, which was done two days ago, so we are moving in that direction.

“Part of the actions that they need to take after declaring the state of emergence is also to put legislation to ban open defecation.

“But you do not ban without providing alternatives, and government at state level will also need to put in money to improve sanitation in motor parks, markets and other public places.

“Then there is an Executive Order that is going to be signed by the president to direct all government agencies, including enforcement agencies to ban open defecation that it is a crime,’’ he said.

He, however, noted that the Executive Order would be shared to various agencies after the signing the order for the public to know what it contained.

Adamu said that Mr President had promulgated the campaign against open defecation in the country to ensure that Nigeria would be Open Defecation Free by 2025.

Adamu said that it was mandatory for all federal agencies to maintain adequate toilets in their buildings while commercial building should also open up their toilets facilities for the public.

The minister also noted that at the federal level, advocacy, funding, and campaigns would be carried out to ensure behavioural change.

“The campaign will actually be driven by the states themselves, we expect that we will mobilise people such as the civil society, corporate bodies, Nollywood, market women, among others to do the campaign.

“We also hope that individuals and organisations can be sponsoring toilets in schools, medical institutions as the campaign is total, so that there will be a culture of respecting toilets and they need to provide these toilets.

“This is not about Federal Government and state governments going to houses to build toilets for people. That is the responsibility of individuals.

“We will like to demonstrate that it can also be a business running a toilet and water facilities can also be a business too in the society and in the rural areas,‘’ he said.

Adamu noted that state government and local government would be able to assist its people in building the toilets.

He said that at the federal level, the government would do the monitoring and evaluation of the progress to ensure that Nigeria achieved open defecation free by 20125.

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Women can play critical role in combating climate change – Ikeazor

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Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment, says women have a critical role to play in combating climate change.

Ikeazor made this known while receiving Mrs Ebere Ifendu, the President, Women in Politics Forum (WIPF) and other women politicians in her office in Abuja.

According to her, climate change affects everyone but women bear the brunt of its adverse effects.

“Adverse results of Climate Change are security and farming crises.

“We are in the month of November and the rains are still falling. This is unusual and the people who suffer it most are women and children,” she said.

She recalled that President Buhari during the United Nations General Assembly in September, declared that Nigeria would plant 25 million trees to combat climate change and reduce carbon emission.

“To implement Mr President’s declaration, the importance of women cannot be overemphasised, we intend to incorporate women not only in tree planting but also for the implementation of various remediation projects to tackle erosion.

“Today, I say to every single woman here that you are an environmental champion and you must help us to combat climate change.”

The minister also urged the forum to be good ambassadors in all their endeavours as millions of women and girls are looking up to them as role models.

Earlier, Ifendu commended the minister for paving way for women in politics and urged her to continue to mentor women to act right in politics.

“We are here because we want to support the ministry in combating climate change.

“There are serious climate change problems across the globe and if you look at the percentage of people affected, you will know that women carry the brunt of its impact.

“There is need to educate women and to also embark on massive sensitisation, so women know their roles in solving climate change problem.”

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Kano Environment Ministry to synergize with Water Agency for development

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Kano State Ministry of Environment said it would synergize with Water Resources, Engineering and Construction Agency (WRECA), to provide quality development in desertification and erosion control in the state.

The state Commissioner for environment, Dr. Kabiru Getso stated this on Friday, when he received the management of WRECA, led by its Managing Director in his office.

Dr. Getso revealed that the ministry and the agency have common tasks and functions, particularly in desertification and erosion control.

According to him, “Since we have similar tasks, there is absolute need to work together to achieve a maximum development for the benefit of the state.

Earlier, the Managing Director of Water Resource, Engineering and Construction Agency  (WRECA), Engr. Mannir Gwarzo, said they were in the Ministry to intimate him on the function of WRECA as a state owned agency with common tasks.

Engr. Gwarzo further maintained that the agency had a good track record but the record had declined due to several reasons, amongst which was the shortage of manpower.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Tukur Muntari.

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