By Razaq Amuda
Nigeria’s Fourth National Water Conference has ended in Calabar, Cross River State, with a call for appropriate short, medium and long term investments in the sector, including the construction of more dams, to effectively utilize Nigeria’s major river systems.
A 10-point resolution adopted at the end of the conference, called for the management of water resources within what it called “hydrologically bounded catchments’’ without political interference, to avoid conflicts and waste of resources”.
According to the resolution, “there is also need for energy generation as a vital component of all major dam projects in Nigeria, to boost rapid industrial development and socio-economic advancement’’.
The conference further resolved that a mechanism for effective inter-sectoral, inter-agency and international cooperation and collaboration for information sharing and effective service delivery be actualized by stakeholders.
While it noted the existence of more than 200 dams in Nigeria currently, the conference emphasize on the need to complete all the downstream structures with adequate involvement of the host communities, for their maximum utilization for food security and youth employment.
The conference reiterate its call on governments and other stakeholders in the water sector to take advantage of the various courses and ongoing youth empowerment programmes at the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna to address the identified “skills gap and ageing workforce’’.
The resolution also called for adequate funding of research and development in the water sector in order to develop appropriate technologies and techniques in water resources management.
“Emphasis should be given to stakeholder’s participation and involvement in the planning and execution of water resources programmes and schemes for sustainability, the resolution said.’’
The Theme of this year’s conference is “Water Cooperation – Building Partnerships”, is to encourage dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation on water issues among stakeholders at all levels.
The resolutions were signed by Engr. Elemi Etowa, the Cross River State Commissioner for Water Resources, Dr Olusanjo Bamgboye, the Executive Director, National Water Resources Institute, and Engr. Mfon Essien, the Managing Director, Cross River Basin Development Authority.