18 November 2012

Nigeria: National Council On Water Resources Meeting Holds in Nasarawa

Stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector will on Tuesday, Nov. 20, converge on Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State, for the 21st meeting of National Council on Water Resources.

Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, the Minister of Water Resources, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto on Sunday that the council would review progress made in the implementation of ongoing policies and programmes.

According to her, the meeting will also serve as a forum to formulate new policies for the development of water resources in the country.

Ochekpe said that the issue of flooding would be top on the agenda of the three-day meeting, with a view to devising strategies to address future recurrences.

"The issue of flooding we experienced this year will come up strongly because we need to discuss and prepare ourselves for the years ahead.

"There were earlier warning alerts sent across the country but we still experienced a lot of devastation.

"So we have to put our heads together to see how we can mitigate the impact of the flood and curtail likely flooding that might occur in the coming years.

"It will afford us an opportunity to also look at our strategies in developing water resources in Nigeria and see which one we need to strengthen and which one we need to de-emphasise for the good of Nigeria."

Ochekpe said that all the management officials of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources were expected to attend the meeting.

The minister said all the stakeholders, both at federal and state levels, would also attend the meeting.

"We are expecting the commissioners in charge of water resources from the 36 states and the secretary in charge of water resources from FCT; we are also expecting the heads of agencies that are working in the water sector, both at the federal and state levels, to be there.

"Besides, we also expect our development partners, who have been supportive in the development of water resources in Nigeria.

"We are also expecting civil society organisations that are working in the water sector to be there.

"It will afford us an opportunity to discuss in-depth issues that are affecting the development of water resources in Nigeria; we will also look at the success stories and the challenges which we are experiencing."

Ochekpe said that the meeting would be an avenue to anchor a robust engagement with the international community, with the aim of coming up with a pragmatic strategy on trans-boundary water resources management.

NAN reports that the Council meeting, which is an annual forum, did not hold in 2011 due to the security situation in the country.

NAN, however, recalls that the 20th National Council meeting in Jos in 2010 considered 19 memoranda.

The National Council on Water Resources -- the apex decision-making body on water issues -- has the Minister of Water Resources as its Chairman, while the Permanent Secretary functions as its Secretary.

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