Tag Archives: Nigeria

Congressional Black Caucus Against Lagos Water Privatisation

On February 27, 2015 this blog raised similar concern about the issue of privatizing Lagos State water supply as shown in the link:

https://weircentreforafrica.com/2015/02/27/privatisation-of-water-supply-in-developing-economies-lagos-state-case/

 

Congressional Black Caucus Against Lagos Water Privatisation

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has expressed worry over the planned privatisation of water in Lagos in a letter signed by 23 of its members.
The members, represent half of the CBC, said the disproportionately harmful effect water privatization schemes, including public-private partnerships, have on people of color around the world, with signers pointing specifically to efforts to privatize water in Lagos, where the World Bank has pushed privatisation as a solution despite its abysmal track record.
The letter cites two US examples, Detroit and Baltimore. By prioritizing revenue over access, much as a private utility would, the cities have raised rates and forced the shut off of water access for tens of thousands, drawing the concern of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water.
As part of a global movement to oppose corporate control of water, spanning from Jakarta to St. Louis, Baltimore recently avoided potentially perilous contract with global private water corporation Veolia. Detroit Representative John Conyers, Jr. led the signers with Rep. Karen Bass, ranking member of the Africa subcommittee. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic co-chair of the Nigeria Caucus, and Reps. Maxine Waters and Emanuel Cleaver, two former CBC chairs, are also among the influential signers.
In the US, from Detroit to Baltimore, aggressive collections policies are curtailing people’s access to water, disproportionately affecting communities of color as the letter’s signers note. In Lagos the World Bank has lobbied for decades to privatise water systems.
In 2012, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private investment arm of the World Bank, held a conference in Senegal to persuade African leaders to privatise their water systems. The conference featured Manila, Philippines as a model for replication, despite that project’s record of massive rate hikes, quality concerns, and communities with severely limited access. International arbitration recently found that major pieces of the Manila deal violate Philippines law.
The letter read in part: “We wish to express our solidarity with the people of Lagos, of Detroit, and of cities around the world as they raise their voices in support of public water, participatory governance, and universal access..Water is a fundamental building block upon which individual and collective economic prosperity relies..When people cannot access or afford clean water, the impact on their health and livelihoods is devastating” … “and these circumstances force families to make painful economic choices.”
Meanwhile the Environmental Rights Action /Friends of the Earth Nigeria(ERA/FoEN) has commended the CBC for its letter of solidarity with Lagos residents and people in the global struggle to access clean,safe drinking water, describing the action as “timely” in halting the planned privatisation of water in Lagos.
ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability & Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “The solidarity letter from the CBC is an encouragement for anti-privatisation groups to scale up our campaign against policies that prioritise profits over rights. We expect the Lagos State government to halt the privatization plans and instead defend the rights of the vast majority of Lagos residents that water privatization will disenfranchise.”
Oluwafemi, who recently visited CBC offices to seek support for the campaign against water privatisation in Lagos promoted by the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC), thanked members of the caucus for supporting the campaign by Lagosians to defend their right to a free gift of nature.
ERA/FoEN and a coalition of labor , human rights and environmental groups have taken to the streets, creating enough pressure that water privatization was a central issue in the recent elections.
Supporting the move, Shayda Naficy, Challenge Corporate Control of Water campaign director at Corporate Accountability International said:” Around the globe, the human right to water is under threat and people of color are disproportionately affected,” said “Whether it’s the World Bank or Detroit City hall, this fundamental right must be upheld. The best way to do that is to keep water systems democratically accountable and in public hands.”
The CBC members learned recently that the coalition of Lagosians, in the face of this relentless lobbying from the World Bank, have raised the visibility of the plans and organized to stop it in its tracks. The campaign has engaged directly with candidates and elected officials on the issue, and marched through the streets of Lagos, but privatization remains a risk. The group’s most recent visit to Washington, DC made clear to members of Congress that what threatens water in Lagos threatens the water of people across the U.S. as well.
Congressional co-signers of the letter include Alma Adams(D-NC), Karen Bass (D-CA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Donna Edwards(D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX),Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Robert Rush (D-IL), Marc Veasey (D-TX),Maxine Waters (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

 

Aggressive Community Led Total Sanitation(CLTS):The Indian Approach

News Flash:

Indian city to pay residents to use public toilets instead of streets

An Indian city is implementing a new reward system where residents who use public toilets will be paid as an incentive to reduce the number of people urinating and defecating in the street.

The city council of the western city of Ahmedabad, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), is to pay one rupee for each visit to the public toilet. The city currently has 300 public toilets for a population of seven million people but many of the city’s residents choose to use public areas to relieve themselves, with walls reportedly smelling of urine.

“Once successful, the project will be implemented in all the 300 public toilets in Ahmedabad,” AMC health worker Bhavvik Joshi told AFP news agency.

Joshi added that the new reward scheme would be piloted at 67 public toilets in the city, which is the biggest in the state of Gujarat. Officers at the public toilets will hand a coin to each user.

Another official, AMC standing committee chairman Pravin Patel, told the news agency that those caught doing their business publicly on numerous occasions would be “identified and encouraged” to take up the payment offer and use the toilets instead.

“The idea behind this project is to prevent open defecation in parts of the city where people, despite having public toilets, defecate in the open,” Patel said.

Last October, on the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a cleanliness drive, entitled Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), to make the country’s roads and public spaces nicer places to be.

His vision is a five-year campaign to promote better hygiene among the population, which he described as “not politics, but patriotism”. He has also pledged to end open defecation by 2019, saying that sanitation is “more important than independence”.

Last year, the UN revealed that India is the country with the highest open defecation problem in the world, with 597 million people participating in the practice, representing 47% of the country’s total population.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report released last year said that over half a billion people in India “continue to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or in open water bodies, with no dignity or privacy”.

Of the one billion who practice open defecation in the world, 825 million live in just 10 countries. Besides India, these countries are Indonesia (54 million), Pakistan (41 million), Nepal (11 million) and China (10 million), while the other five all emanate from Africa: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

Representatives from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AMC were not immediately available for comment.

Update on Desertification in Nigeria

This blog has published articles on the environment excerpted from a number of Dailies in Nigeria, especially from the Daily Trust. The article copied from the June 18, 2014 Daily Trust below is the latest information recorded in the Nigerian Dailies on desertification in the country with special emphasis on the North.

Highlights from this new addition are: •

“In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.”

•The list of the 11 Northern Nigeria frontline states as regards desertification.

•The Pan African Initiative – “The Great Green Wall (GGW) project in Nigeria and the role being played by the Minister of Environment – Mrs. Laurentina Mallam – in this project.

• Efforts of Kebbi Government in reclaiming its forests reserves.

• Zamfara’s inclusion of the GGW project in its 2014 appropriation bill. •

Kebbi State Commissioner for Environment, Ishaku Dauda’s success of the GGW’s in Borango and Facaka communities in his state. World Day to Combat Desertification … Rising to the Challenge of Desertification in the North

DEPO ADENLE.

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World Day to Combat Desertification … Rising to the Challenge of Desertification in the North

Chidimma C. Okeke , The Daily Trust, Wednesday, 18 June 2014.

Nigeria, yesterday, joined the rest of the world in marking the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Although the day did not witness any official function or activity, the conscious efforts made by leaders of the 11 frontline northern states to address desertification in their communities and states was a right step in the right direction.

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Ever since, country Parties to the Convention, organisations of the United Nations System, international and non-governmental organisations and other interested stakeholders have celebrated this particular day with a series of outreach activities worldwide.

The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, and that key tools to achieving this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels. Experts have raised alarm about the rapid depletion of the nation’s ecosystem, a development they attributed to climate change.

In northern Nigeria, 11 states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Katsina and Adamawa are already suffering the impact of climate change as these states are ravaged by drought and desertification. But recently, the communities and states have evolved conscious strategies to cushion the impact of climate change and prominent among the strategies is the planting of trees.

Under the Pan African initiative, The Great Green Wall (GGW) project, the federal government had been able to mobilise and fund states to plant thousands of trees in the 11 states. The challenge of desertification is more conspicuous in the 11 frontline states as millions of people who rely on land as a vital means of their livelihoods could have their means of livelihoods threatened as a result of encroachment by the desert.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, during a recent sensitisation and advocacy visit to some of the frontline states stressed the need to sustain the environment by fighting desertification through the GGW programme. She stated that the determination of the federal government to fight desertification was responsible for investing over N10 billion on the GGW. According to Mallam, the GGW programme was designed to bring succour to and alleviate the sufferings of people living in these states where the Sahara was already causing severe damage and generate employment and economic activities to the communities when completed. She said: “The negative effects of desert encroachment is always bad such as lack of water, food and poverty and at times people are forced out of their homes and seek refuge in other places which may result into conflict if they are not accepted or giving opportunity to live freely.”

The Governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Usman Dakingari said that there was a symbiosis between humans and the environment, adding that the ecosystem ensured a balance for living in peace. “If you offset that balance you know the consequences and this is what we have seen in this part of the country. Sometimes the human conflicts, like the Fulani farmers conflict, are due to the offsetting of the environmental balance. “He lamented that people have used large part of the forestry reserve in the state for farming, saying, however, that: “In kebbi state, we are doing as much as we can to recover those forest reserves and plant more and this is why last year, we had 86 kilometres planted, we also have about 21 orchards established around the 21 LGAs of the state. This year we intend to plant about 300 kilometres of the state, with experience of last year, I think we can plant faster and we can do better.” The governor said that if the tempo of the planting was maintained, the state would recover most of the reserve it lost to farmland. “We don’t want any tree to be felled and nobody should build any filling stations, from here to Kalbo and from here to Argungu, we have enough filling stations and that will help us to retain the wall of trees. If not it will go in the next 10 years and they are not ready to replace them. “We hope we can sustain these policies when we invest, the moment you leave your investment they get spoiled, so there should be consistency in policy, pursuance of those policies and the policies should be result oriented.”

Zamfara State government said it included the Great Green Wall (GGW) in its 2014 appropriation bill to assist the federal government in the fight against desert encroachment. The Commissioner for Environment, Mukhtar Muhammad Lugga, said that the GGW project in the state was going to be properly implemented, adding that hindrances to achieving its success have been removed. “The initial problem we had is that we started planting at the end of rainy season and our seedlings did not get the benefit of the early rainfall last year, “ he said. He added that they started early this year by revisiting the project areas and replanting the seedlings that weltered and as a result achieved about 16 kilometres within the space of two months.

Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera, also highlighted the importance of maintaining the environment, no matter where you are and what you do. He said: “The issue of desert encroachment is one that has been with us for long and it is a welcome development that the government is doing everything possible to salvage the situation through the GGW which is not only going to take care of desert encroachment that is stopping people from farming or displacing them, but also to empower them in a way to earn a living and also reduce poverty.” Mera appreciated the effort of the government on the GGW project, promising to continue advocating and ensuring that the people embrace the programme in his emirate. Commissioner for Environment Kebbi State, Ishaku Dauda, said the GGW has succeeded in Boroango, Facaka and other communities where it was implemented. According to him, four boreholes have been constructed with two solar powered ones working while others were at the finishing stages, adding that contract has been awarded for the fencing of the orchards and nurseries. “Environmental impact assessment has been completed in the four communities and they are now feeling the impacts of the GGW, unlike before, and residents are prepared to protect and nurture it as theirs.” Speaking on the contribution from the state environmental sector, he said they have planted 86 kilometres of shelter belts, provided water for it and raised about 900, 000 seedlings in the nurseries located all over the state. He added that this year, the state intended to plant 300 kilometres of shelterbelt in the nine local governments that are prone to desert encroachment and roadside planting was made in 12 local governments.

“We, therefore, call on all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the GGW to pursue it with all vigour so that Nigerians in rural areas will start enjoying the benefit like their counterparts in Senegal,” he said.

2014 Presidential envirronmental preservation budget: A good example of uncoordinated approach to resource management

The idea of throwing huge amounts of money at any challenge without  planned and targeted actions is something that we have to free our country from. The document below on the magnitude of funds thrown at a variety of environmental issues is a case in point. As the Daily Trust puts it, the country plans to spend about N4 billion for environmental preservation in 2014.

The first thing that surprises one from a quick evaluation of the budget is that the whole catalog of what the budget will be spent on shows the usual pitfalls of the approaches to natural resources management  in the country – top-down approach, lack of coordination and lack of consultation.

Furthermore, the list of items on which money will be spent is illogical. For example, at the top of the list N 2.8billion is earmarked for erosion and flood control, while N0.1 billion is also allocated to “installation of additional automated flood early warning systems”. Another example of illogicality is where tree planting is allocated N 0.4 billion in one part of the document while tree planting also shows up under ‘forest resources development, management and tree planting nationwide’ with an allocation of N0.07billion.  I just marvel whether the Osun State School Tree Planting Programme would not achieve better results if replicated in other parts of the country. Little wonder that Dr. Christopher, in his comment below “… said the budget for the environmental sector was full of inconsistency and would not deliver anything new to Nigerians.”

It sounds somehow ridiculous that the government is planning to procure 3 water hyacinth harvester machines when the magnitude of the water hyacinth infestation in the country is considered. Dr.Uk U.N., et al. (2007) noted that based on national survey conducted in 2001, over 30 States out of 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria had been infested by water hyacinth. The same authors reviewed several approaches for controlling invasive weeds, such as hyacinth, and seem to favor biological control method after reviewing its efficacy in several countries, such as Argentina, USA, India and the Sudan.

When  the idea of “The Great Green Wall Sahara Project”, one of the items on the budget is considered, one cannot but ask whether the 11 frontline drought and desertification states were consulted. If they were consulted, would it not have  the desired impact if the budget for this highfalutin project is given to the frontline states.

Comments by DEPO ADENLE.

2014: Jonathan budgets N4bn for environmental preservation

 

 01 January 2014 

 by Isiaka Wakili and Alex Abutu

President Goodluck Jonathan has budgeted a sum of N3.930 billion for the preservation of environment.

The project is to be carried out by the Ministry of Environment in 2014.
This revelation is contained in the 2014 Appropriation Bill which the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recently presented, on behalf of the president, to the two chambers of the National Assembly.


According to the bill, the Headquarters of the Ministry of Environment has a total allocation of N8.312 billion out of which N5.411 billion is for total capital and N2.9 billion for total recurrent.
The details of the budget proposal indicate that the President wants the National Assembly to approve N2.8 billion for erosion and flood control, N700 million for industrial pollution prevention and control, N400 million for tree planting and another N30 million for wildlife conservation.


All these are in addition to the N673.499 million which the ministry will spend on research and development, N112 million on monitoring and evaluation and N24.942 million on anniversaries/celebrations.


The ministry has also introduced such new projects as: green village development to combat drought and desertification in the 11 frontline states, N102.250 million; installation of additional automated flood early warning systems, N102.157 million;  renovation and partitioning of the ministry’s central store in Abuja, N10 million; procurement of physical and electronic storage system, N10 million.


The ministry is also embarking on the purchase of law books worth N10 million and establishment of infrastructure in the ministry with N15 million; contribution to international agencies, N30 million; procurement of three water hyacinth harvester machines, accessories and spare parts, N127.501 million; and upgrading/renovation of facilities in the ministry’s auditorium at the Green, Brown and Forestry Building, Abuja, N80 million.


Also proposed as new projects are: forest resources development, management and tree planting nationwide, N70 million; natural resources conservation and development of management plans for forest reserves, N30 million; the Great Greenwall Sahara Programme, N86.122 million; access contribution to multi-lateral environmental agreements, N40 million; establishment of ozone village, N120 million.


The ministry is also set to carry out, as part of its new projects, accreditation programme for environmental consultants, N10 million; advocacy for public and environmental sanitation, N25 million; completion of integrated waste management facility, N90 million; bio-technological rehabilitation of an environmentally degraded site in South-west, N50 million; mapping of charcoal producing areas, N35 million;  establishment of solar drying centre with agricultural value chain, N50 million; among others.


Although listed as new projects, most of the items had featured in the 2013 budget with either higher or lower appropriation: industrial pollution prevention and control got N166 million in 2013, erosion and flood control got N7 billion, tree planting got N129 million and wildlife conservation got N20 million.


Dr Okon Christopher, an environmental activist, said the budget for the environmental sector was full of inconsistency and would not deliver anything new to Nigerians.
“There is nothing different from what was budgeted for the sector in 2013. What is the essence of budgeting when the money will not be made available for implementing the programmes and project contained therein?” he asked.


“If you look critically at the budget you will find that it failed to take into account existing projects which already had funding. The Great Green Wall project was allocated N158 million in 2014 while there is already a N13 billion presidential release for the project since 2013. The country got a World Bank loan of $600 million to tackle erosion but this was not reflected in the budget rather, another N2.8 billion was allocated to erosion control in the budget proposal,” He noted.

Probing the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the River Basin Development Authorities Over Misuse of Public Funds: A Welcome Decision

About a month ago the report shown below was filed by Premium Times. The reasons adduced for the probe by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts are two:

1. Refusal of the agencies to answer queries raised by the Auditor General of the Federation.

2.The Committee’s displeasure over “the manner the basin authorities were administered over the years.”

The probe is supposed to be in form of public hearing. If one considers the above first reason which is on the Auditor’s queries and the fact that the Ministry has refused to honor invitations from the House Committee it is difficult to see what a public hearing will achieve. It will be in the interest of the public if an insight can be given on the number and nature of queries so far given. Many thanks to Premium Times for shining its probing lights on the activities of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. It did so about a year ago, July 27, 2012 when it wrote on “INVESTIGATION] The Massive MDG Fraud (2): How Nigeria’s water ministry steals billions, then leave the taps dry.” (http://premiumtimesng.com/news/93667-investigation-the-massive-mdg-fraud-2-how-nigerias-water-ministry-steals-billions-then-keep-the-taps-dry.html).  I doubt if there was any official response to this 2012 article. Apparently the Federal Ministry of Water Resources is becoming another ‘untouchable ministry.’ The second reason for the probe is on the displeasure of the House Committee “over the manner the basin authorities were administered over the years.”

A reader of the current Premium Times report may be suspecting that the concern of the House Committee is about only how funds are being used in the RBDAs. The reader’s suspicion may not be unfounded but may miss a more profound reason. Our RBDAs have lost focus. This becomes glaring if one considers what they are currently engaged in (production of sachet water ‘pure water’ and bottled water) comparison with the articles of the edict that established them.

The following summarizes the functions of the RBDAs:

• To undertake comprehensive development of both surface and groundwater resources for multipurpose use, with particular emphasis on the provision of irrigation infrastructure and the control of flood and erosion for watershed management.

• To construct, operate and maintain reservoir dams, dykes, polders, wells, boreholes, irrigation and drainage systems and other works necessary for the achievement of the RBDAs functions and to hand over all lands to be cultivated under irrigation schemes to the farmers.

• To supply water from RBDAs completed storage schemes to all users for a fee to be determined by RBDA concerned, with the approval of the Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development

• To construct, operate and maintain infrastructure services such as roads and bridges linking projects sites, provided that such services are included forming an integral part of the approved projects.

• To develop and keep up to date comprehensive water resources master plan, identifying all water resources requirements in the RBDAs area of operation through adequate collection and collation of water resources, water use, socio-economic and environmental data of the river basin.

DEPO ADENLE ============================================================ Nigerian lawmakers to probe water resources ministry, agencies Premium Times, July 17, 2013 The lawmakers will also probe the River Basin Development Authorities. The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts said it would probe the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the River Basin Development Authorities over alleged misuse of public funds. The Chairman of the committee, Solomon Adeola, announced this in Abuja on Wednesday at a meeting with the officials of the ministry of and managing directors of the river basins. He said the ministry and its agencies had refused to appear before the committee to answer queries raised against them by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Mr. Adeola expressed displeasure over the manner the basin authorities were administered over the years. He said the probe, which would be in form of a public hearing, would be transmitted live on television stations across the country. “It will give the managing directors the opportunity to speak to Nigerians on how funds allocated to them were administered’’, he said. Mr. Adeola explained that the action became necessary following the refusal of the agencies to honour several invitations of the committee.

Sokoto State to Commercialize Waste Disposal

Sokoto State’s plan to commercialize the disposal of waste in the State was made public by the State’s Commissioner for Environment with the Leadership Newspaper [Link below].  The plan has several commendable proposals and planned activities for ensuring that the people of the State enjoy a clean environment and good sanitation. The interviewee’s response focused on waste recycling, flood management and unwholesome hygiene practices (indiscriminate open defecation).

 

The State’s initiative concerning waste recycling targets the recycling of the ubiquitous polythene bags, which has become a nuisance in urban and rural settlements. This is a step in the right direction. The magnitude of the polythene bag menace can be appreciated especially after a heavy downpour in all our cities and rural communities when the streets are covered by heaps of polythene bags and drainage channels are clogged. 

 

The unsightly scenery caused by discarded polythene bags that are blown all over the place during the dry season is undesirable as polythene bags hang over barbed-wire fences, telecommunication poles, etc.

 

The strategy being used by Sokoto Ministry of Environment in combating the menace of discarded polythene bags involves using unemployed youths, building recycling plants and partnering with the Federal Government of Nigeria. This strategy ought to be replicated in states where there are no systems in place to address the challenges of disposing used polythene bags.

 

Another environmental challenge being handled by the Ministry of Environment in Sokoto is flood. As described by the Commissioner, the State is working with all stakeholders – the communities and Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority (SRBDA) – in finding solutions to recurrent flood disasters in the State.  It is planned to have collaborative efforts, at mitigating flood impacts, between SRBDA and the State. The interviewee proposes to have some form of flood alert system. It also plans to intensify the state’s efforts on sensitizing the communities that live downstream of the major dams in the State. It intends to appeal to the RBDA to consider proper management of dam releases. This is essential for all owners of major dams in the country. 

 

The efforts of Sokoto State Government concerning stopping open defecation require a strategy that goes beyond mere provision of mobile toilets and enactment of Sanitation Law.  One of the key methods of tackling this problem is triggering Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in every part of the State.  CLTS is already alive in Sokoto State. I was reliably informed that UNILEVER is already supporting CLTS in Kangiwa LGA.  The commissioner may not have been briefed about this before he gave the interview below.

 

Here is the link to the Leadership interview:

http://leadership.ng/news/140813/we-cannot-achieve-clean-environment-without-attitude-change-kilgori

DEPO ADENLE.

Adamawa Community celebrates first ever water well

It is really a shame that this Nigerian community has suffered for too long from lack of access to potable water. It is at the same time painful to learn that Palam community has to celebrate the sinking of the “first ever water well” (hand-dug well). This should not happen to any community in a country awash with petrol dollar.

Nigeria collects millions of US dollars daily from sale of petroleum. But this gets squandered on bogus salaries, wasteful purchases such as several official cars, at times air planes for the executive in each state, houses, inflated allowances for government officials and politicians at the three tiers of government, etc. When the funds are not squandered on profligate purchases, they are embezzled through corrupt practices by both government officials and politicians at the expense of the citizens’ welfare. Premium Times on July 27, 2012 reported  the monumental fraud in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) funds at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources .

It has been said at informal discussions that the security vote of a governor for a year should be enough to improve access to potable water in any state. If this is so, one would like to know how much the Governor of Adamawa collects yearly as security vote.

Furthermore, the Economist recently published a comparative table on how Nigeria’s politicians are over paid in comparison with politicians in the USA and some other first world countries as shown in the quotation below;

“Rewarding work

More than they deserve? – The Economist, July 20, 2013

 

IN TIMES of austerity, awarding yourself a fat pay rise goes down badly. An independent body’s suggestion that British lawmakers’ salaries should rise from £66,396 ($105,400) to £74,000 in 2015 has prompted a media firestorm, even though perks such as a generous pension scheme would be slimmed down.

 British MPs earn around 2.7 times the country’s GDP per person, on a par with many rich countries. But their basic pay is parsimonious by other states’ standards, and defining fairness is tricky.

 Lawmakers in poorer countries in Africa and Asia enjoy the largest salaries relative to GDP. Voters have noticed. Earlier this year, furious Kenyan demonstrators burned 221 coffins outside parliament in a row over the pay and benefits awarded to Kenyan MPs (known for their self-indulgence). Last month MPs lowered their salaries but still managed to secure themselves a $58,000 car grant.

 Italian legislators enjoy one of the lushest deals in Europe, including free transport. Indian MPs are ill-paid, but rewarded for their work with beautiful but decrepit bungalows in the swankiest parts of Delhi; these are a far cry from the uninviting dormitories in which Japanese lawmakers from outside Tokyo must live. An odd feature of Thai politics is that the governing party’s MPs are paid more than those of the opposition. America appears notably stingy. Senators have had no pay rise since 2009, though this is perhaps less tragic when their often staggering personal wealth is considered. What about payment by results: salaries go up when GDP does?”

Comments by DEPO ADENLE

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Adamawa Community celebrates first ever water well

by Ibrahim Abdul’aziz, Premium Times, July 23, 2013

Residents of the community had been getting their water supply from ponds.

The residents of Palam in Shuwa area of Madagali Local Government in Adamawa State now have their first major source of water, a well.

Ponds and small-scale irrigation reservoirs, situated several kilometres from where the residents of the community live, have been the main sources of drinking water for the community.

The residents, though entitled to better quality and clean water provided by the government, were grateful that after decades of trekking long distances to get water to drink, a well had been sunk in their community.

They commended the Shuwa Development Area administration for sinking the well and rehabilitating the washed away portion of the road that links the community to other villages.

A cross section of the people who spoke on Monday at the inauguration of a culvert linking the area that was destroyed by recent flood expressed happiness at the development.

“We have suffered because of the destroyed road but now things have changed for the better,” a resident, Yahaya Ahmadu, said.

“For decades we don’t have well, nor boreholes; we trek for kilometres to fetch water from ponds where our domestic animals drink.

“We want to thank the Administrator of Shuwa Development Area for his prompt response in rehabilitating our affected road and culvert,” Mr. Ahmadu said.

Another resident, Joy Ibrahim, while expressing joy over the road rehabilitation said that transportation has been made easy for them.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the well and the road on Monday, the Administrator of Shuwa Development Area, Sule Duhu, said his administration would continue to remain committed in discharging its responsibility to the people.

Mr. Duhu lauded the contribution of the community in providing free labour particularly for the culvert project.

Desertification in Nigeria Update:Federal Ministry of Environment Strategies

The Federal Government cannot do it all as regards management of the environment.  In the case of responding to the issue of desertification  in Nigeria it needs the contribution and participation  of the front-line states.

A sector-wide approach, which brings together governments, donors and stakeholders, will be more effective. The strategies that the Federal Ministry of Environment claims to have developed is not  spelt out in this News Agency of Nigeria Report. Any strategy that leaves out other sectors and stakeholders will not achieve desired result. The Ministry of Environment should  involve the LGAs as well as the communities in these front-line states.

DEPO ADENLE

Ministry to mitigate impact of desertification on buffer states, says Official

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),Thu, 04/04/2013
The Federal Ministry of Environment has developed strategies to ensure that buffer states are not affected by desertification battering the frontline states.

Dr Bukhar Hassan, Director, Drought, Desertification and Amelioration Department of the ministry, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the the buffer states, also referred to as neighbouring states, comprised Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba and the FCT.

“The 11 frontline states are on the war front with desertification. Desertification in Nigeria is caused by the moving of the Sahara desert southwards into the country and the first ports of call are these states.

“These frontline states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

“This is where most of our actions are carried out.

“We have also put a lot of efforts in these areas; in the buffer states, we try to reduce the possibility of desertification in these areas, while in the North, we try to restore the degraded areas.’’ he said.

Hassan said it was worrisome that some settlements especially on the borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic had been over taken by the desert.

The director explained that the large population in the settlements was forced to migrate to the buffer states due to the encroachment.

“So, the natural resources in that state now will be under strain and once they are being under strain, the next thing you will realise is that there won’t be any sustainability in the natural resources management.

“And once you don’t have sustainability, the next thing you get is scarcity of natural resources and once you get scarcity, the result of that is anybody’s guess.’’ he said.

According to the director, desertification is making the forests in the frontline states to disappear.

“We cut down trees for cooking and this is made worse by the advancing desert because trees are felled without replacement and it makes the problem much more difficult to solve.

“We also have a lot of influx of people from other states to cut down the trees which they use as cooking fuel and for other purposes.’’ he said.

Hassan observed that such visible effects of desertification had affected the economy of the country.

He stated that the ministry had stepped up awareness campaign on climate change as evident in the increasing desert encroachment

“What we are doing now is that we are talking to stakeholders like the wood sellers association, to make them understand the need to sustain the environment even as they do their businesses.

“We are encouraging them to plant more trees because it is not using firewood from trees that is hurting us but the fact that they do not plant trees to replace the ones they have cut down.”

The director stated that the frontline states would work out a framework that would consist of rules and economic agenda to sustain the environment.

Ghana’s effort towards controlling water hyacinth: An Example for Nigeria?

Ghana’s effort towards controlling water hyacinth: An Example for Nigeria?

by DEPO Adenle

In a recent CNN’s recent programme on profiting from pulling nasty weeds it was revealed that aquatic hyacinth is overtaking Africa’s Lake Victoria, but entrepreneurs are using the invasive weed to create baskets and rope to sell. The Kenyan authority who spoke on the programme was not convinced about the effectiveness of the entrepreneurs’ approach to curbing the exploding rate at which Lake Victoria is being prevented from serving its useful purpose.

It adversely affects the biodiversity and functioning of wetland and riparian ecosystems, water quality, water storage and distribution infrastructure, recreation and amenity values. It is often described as one of the worlds’ worst aquatic weeds.

Water hyacinth can be controlled using three methods (Wikipedia):

Chemical Control

The application of herbicides for controlling water hyacinth has been carried out for many years and it has been found that there is a good success rate when dealing with small infestations. A main concern when using herbicides is the environmental and health related effects, especially where people collect water for drinking and washing.

Physical Control

Physical control is performed by land based machines such as bucket cranes, draglines, or boorm or by water based machinery such as aquatic weed harvester, dredges, or vegetation shredders. Mechanical removal is seen as the best short-term solution to the proliferation of the plant. It is however costly and requires the use of both land and water vehicles.

Biological Control

As chemical and mechanical removal is often too expensive and ineffective, researchers have turned to biological control agents (weevils) to deal with water hyacinth. Although meeting with limited success, the weevils have since been released in more than 20 other countries. However, the most effective control method remains the control of excessive nutrients and prevention of the spread of this species.

In the article below the Ghana EPA has opted for the physical control which is seen as the best short term solution. The seeds are believed to be able to grow even after about 3 decades. Therefore a site cannot be considered free of its regeneration until over 30 years.

What type of control should Nigeria adopt depends on whether it wants a short term solution or a long-term one, the latter requires development of a strategic framework to contain this invasive nasty weed. This blogger has witnessed how the physical control method failed at Ibadan in Western Nigeria, near the Government Secretariat, where it took less than a year for  the complete regeneration and total coverage of the lake surface.

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EPA Fights Water Weeds

By Emelia Ennin Abbey, Daily Guide Newspaper, Ghana

Published on November 26, 2012

Harvesting water hyacinth in Ghana

Mrs Shirley Ayitey popping a champagne to commission the weed harvesters and transport badge while Mrs S. Amlalo looks on.

The invasion of aquatic weeds in the lower Volta which is threatening the livelihood of fishing communities will soon become a thing of the past following the commissioning of two harvesters and transport badges valued at $2.588,000.

The move, which falls under the integrated management of invasive Aquatic Weeds Project, saw the procurement of the facilities by the Environmental Protection Agency which, through the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, secured financing from the African Development Bank to control water weeds in the Tano and Volta Rivers.

The two weed harvesters which are like water mowers which would cut the vegetation are christened, Animati and Pediato after two traditional leaders in the lower Volta Area who championed the removal of the aquatic weeds, and the transport badges would be known as Yaakwabia and Manyaklo taking their names after the first female executive secretary of the then Environmental Protection Council and the people of the area respectively.

Daniel Amlalo, Acting Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, noted that the struggle with the invasion of water weeds started in the past two decades and as at 2006 about 6,066 hectares of the Lower Volta, Kpong Head Pond, the Oti and Tano Rivers and Lagoon Complex were covered with the weeds.

The infestations of the water weeds “have severely compromised the use of these water bodies by obstructing water supply, river transport, fishing, threatening hydropower generation and also increasing the prevalence of water-borne diseases such as Bilharzia.”

Until the acquisition of the weed harvesters, measures used in controlling the weeds which had been growing at a high rate had mostly been through removing the weeds by hand but that had not helped to control the phenomenon.

A 2009 survey by the EPA estimated that between 15 and 40 percent of open water surface of most reservoirs were infested.

Shirley Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, before cutting a tape and joining dignitaries to pop champagne to commission the weed harvesters and transport badges, stated that the invasive plants and weed species had been attacking the quality of life of the various societies and communities on a daily basis.

“It is government’s desire to transform the water weed menace into an opportunity for enhancing livelihood and income generation.

She disclosed that the EPA had trained communities to compost harvested weeds for crop production, “we will expand the initiative and create the value chain that will attract investment to transform harvested weeds into compost to boost agriculture.”

Mrs Marie-Laure Akin –Olugbade, Resident Representattive of the African Development Bank in Ghana, explained that the Bank supported Ghana with a concessionary loan of $2,588,000 and a grant component of $323, 500 under a five-year project to enhance aquatic weed removal.

With the mechanical harvesting, she said, it was expected that the critical mass of weed infestation would be reduced.

“It is expected that the Government of Ghana will continue to support and strengthen the achievements made through this project by expanding the scale of harvesting of the invasive aquatic weeds while ensuring that the harvested areas are not re-infested.”

The Volta River Authority (VRA) is expected to manage the Weed harvesters and the transport badges and Mr Kweku Awotwe, Chief Executive officer of the VRA, in a speech read on his behalf, gave the assurance that his outfit would operate and maintain the harvesters in a professional and responsible manner so as to make optimum use of the equipment.

Communities find water, decades after

Communities find water, decades after

By Chris Oji

The Nation, 01/06/2012

The days of thirst are over. So is the era of trekking for kilometers on end just to find water.

For the people of Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community in Nkanu East Local Government Area, Enugu State, it is a whole new world.

The community had been without water for decades. Sourcing good water took over many kilometers, making the liquid even more precious than crude oil or gold.

But now, their agony is over. A borehole scheme initiated under 2009 MDG/CGS water projects has been completed and inaugurated by the state government.

The handing over of the water project to the Umuika– Enuogo Nkerefi community has brought to an end decades of water scarcity in the community and its neighbouring communities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Managing Director of Enugu State Rural Water supply and Sanitation Agency (En-RUWASSA), Mr. Mike Cole Oguamah stated that the stream impoundment at Nkerefi was a pilot project developed by the Enugu State government as an alternative to providing safe drinking water to communities all the year round.

He said a geological survey had shown that construction of deep motorised boreholes would not be feasible, while shallow boreholes always dry up during the dry season.

Oguamah disclosed that the project has a concrete reservoir and overhead tank with a capacity of about 100,000 cubic metres of water, intake, treatment and filtration plants as well as reticulated to about 3km from the reservoir.

He explained that with time, reticulation would be extended to other parts of the community.

He charged the water management committee to ensure that everybody had access to the water as well as  to make sure that all the clans that made up Enuogu-Nkerefi were represented in the committee, and that the security of the project must never be compromised.

The benefitting communities expressed their joy as they saw water in their neighbourhood. They thanked Governor Sullivan Chime.

Handing over the water scheme to the community, the commissioner for Budget and Planning and chairman of MDG Oversight Committee, Dr. K. O. Agbowo stated that since Enugu State government spent huge amounts of money to build the water scheme at no cost to the community, it is now left for the community to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project.

Agbowo pointed out that the project would not only serve the community’s water needs but would also reduce drastically the incidents of water-borne diseases which were present in the area and the medical expenses the villagers incur as a result of such diseases.

Other neighbouring communities that requested for the extension of the water to their villages were informed by the commissioner that water was for all but they should liaise first with the water management committee to discuss the modalities for the extension in “the spirit of Governor Sullivan Chime’s desire to provide safe drinking water to the people of Enugu State.

The Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community through the chairman of the water management committee, Mr. Kingsley Ogbu expressed gratitude to the state government for citing the project, the first of its kind in their community.

He said that before now the the issue of safe drinking water had been a nightmare to the community against the background that it was a guinea worm endemic community

MY COMMENTS

This is good news for the Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community.

However, the way this is reported leaves one wondering whether this scheme is a borehole-based water supply scheme or a surface water-based scheme. This needs to be clarified.

Secondly, from the report, it appears there was no wide consultation in the community before the project was conceived, planned, developed and constructed as implied in the words of the Planning and Chairman of MDG Oversight Committee, Dr. K. O. Agbowo:

“…since Enugu State government spent huge amounts of money to build the water scheme at no cost to the community, it is now left for the community to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project.”

If the community was properly consulted before the construction of this scheme, post- construction operation and maintenance system of the scheme would have been put in place. It would not have been necessary for Dr. Agbowo to inform the community during the handing- over ceremony that the community has to devise the best way to raise money to maintain the project. The cart was put before the horse.

In similar donor-assisted projects, a Water Consumers Association (WCA)  or Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committees (WASHCOMS) would have been formed that would be responsible for collecting tariff  and maintenance of this project so that it would not end up abandoned like most other government projects that were executed using a top-down approach.

A factor that has been identified for failure of water supply schemes is that communities do not have a sense of ownership when they do not contribute towards a project.

However little, it is important if the Umuika-Enuogo Nkerefi community had contributed something towards this project in order to guarantee the success of this project.