From Bello Wakili
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for global support to develop the resources in the Niger Basin area, home to over 160 million people who depend on the River as a means of sustenance.
He made the call while Declaring open the virtual 12th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA)
The President said the Niger River commonly called Djoliba in Guinea and Mali, offers enormous development opportunities in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, fish farming, hydro-power, hydraulics and navigation.
He stated that It was necessary to continue to promote its enormous potential and to improve the socio-economic development of the region
President Buhari expressed appreciation to Technical and Financial Partners, including African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the German Financial Cooperation (KFW), for identifying with the vision and projects of the authority.
He urged them to continue to support efforts at developing the Niger Basin in the fight against pollution and the degradation of ecosystems, in order to manage its resources in a sustainable and equitable manner.
President Buhari, who is the outgoing Chairman of the NBA Leaders’ Summit, also used the occasion to give account of his five-year stewardship, piloting the affairs of the institution.
The President also listed other on-going programmes to include the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Niger Basin financed by the AfDB, GEF, KFW and NBA Member Countries to improve the resilience of the Niger River ecosystems and populations through a sustainable management of natural resources.
He explained that the climate change programme would cover the nine NBA member-countries- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.
The President pointed out that there was an improvement in the organization’s financial status as member countries were striving hard to pay their annual contributions in a timely manner.
He also commended all member countries for their unflinching efforts towards contributing to the construction of a befitting Headquarters for the NBA, noting with appreciation the commitments made so far.
On behalf of member countries, President Buhari while thanking the outgoing Executive Secretary, Mr. Abderahim Bireme Hamid, for serving the Authority noted that the 12th Summit is expected to appoint a new Executive Secretary and a Chairman.