By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
The Chairman of the National conference’s committee on agriculture presented his committee’s report to delegates at the conference yesterday, in which he called for the government to save the River Chad basin from the condition it was currently in.
During the presentation, Umar Hadejia decried the current state of the River Chad basin due to climate change and other factors, noting that 17 million Nigerians were affected. He added that there were tensions between host communities and cattle rearers who had left the basin because of low water supply.
It is as a result of this the chairman said the committee had decided to explore the feasibility of inter basin water transport.
Said the Chairman; “We recommend that the Federal Government urgently initiate concrete action in mobilising the required resources in conjunction with international donors towards inter basin water transfer to Lake Chad so as to avert an impending humanitarian crisis.”
A local intervention should be encouraged to explore serious sea fishing and trawling, poor disposal methods, deforestation, climate change, indiscriminate use of water he added.
He noted that no amount of money would mean anything if there was an absence of future development. It is based on this that the committee urged the government to put deliberate policies in place to attract Nigerian youth to study agriculture related courses, which should be tailored towards agricultural technologies. The committee also proposed the establishment of professional institutes to regulate the training and practice of graduates and technologists.
Hadejia noted that this was the time for the Nigerian Government to empower the water sector, stating that the committee therefore recommended that significant and sustained support will be given to the water sector backed by the constitutional amendment of the water resources act 101.
Other recommendations ere; the establishment of a National water commission to maintain a comprehensive data base of water resources and usage to aid overload planning; the commercialisation, not privatisation of the river basin development authority to improve operational and income generating facilities.
H also called for the Government to integrate the report into the water resources bill and agricultural policy of Nigeria.
Amendments to the committee’s report will be submitted and deliberated upon today.