SPECIAL REPORT/ Water Minister recounts journey so far in water sector (2015-2020)

  • Enumerates challenges, prospects
  • Saves N53bn on contract review even before BPP review
  • Launches Compendium on Water Resources Development in Nigeria


The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Monday, November, 30, recounted his journey so far since his appointment in 2015 to date, enumerating the prospects and challenges the sector has endured under him in these five years.


Adamu used the opportunity to launch a Compendium on Water Resources Development in Nigeria (2015-2020), which he described as a reference point for years to come.



He said that over these years, since his assumption of office as the Honourable Minister of Water Resources on 11thNovember, 2015,  he has regularly rendered account of his stewardship to Nigerians in a bid to promote transparency and accountability, foster a culture of responsibility and outline achievements and prospects in the Nigerian water sector, noting that this year, his ministry has decided to prepare a Compendium of all the Ministry’s activities from November 2015 to November 2020. Before launching the Compendium, he used the opportunity to briefly highlight some of the achievements contained in the document.



He began, “The relevance of water to all aspects of human life and endeavors cannot be overemphasized as water is the very foundation for food security, job creation, water supply and sanitation and hydropower generation, amongst others. Let me re-emphasis that the Mandate and Vision of the Ministry is to develop and implement policies, projects and programmes to enable sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the social, cultural, environmental and economic development needs of all Nigerians.


“In order to deliver on our mandate and ensure good water governance, the Ministry secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council for the operationalization of the following Institutional and Regulatory Frameworks for the Sector:


  • National Water Resources Master Plan (2015);
  • Draft National Water Resources Bill (2016);
  • National Water Resources Policy (2016);
  • National Irrigation and Drainage Policy and Strategy (2016-2030);
  • Immediate and Long-Term Plan (2016 – 2030) also known as the Water Sector Roadmap.
  • River Basin Strategic Plans (2017-2020)

“It is apt to mention that the draft National   Water   Resources   Bill is designed to provide the required legal instrument to support efficient management of the nation’s water resources and accelerate the contribution of the water sector to national development in accordance with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles. Please recall that the Bill was   passed   by   the   House   of Representatives in 2018 but was stalled in the 8th Senate. The Ministry is currently re-engaging with the 9thNational Assembly to ensure its passage. It might interest you to know that the Bill, when passed into Law will:


  • Establish effective water sector governance in Nigeria in line with global best practices;
  • Provide for effective catchment management;
  • Enhance greater participation of farmers in irrigation management; and
  • Provide the regulatory framework for private sector participation in water supply delivery in the country.
  • Provide for a Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Fund to support financial investment by States & LGAs in the provision of WASH Services.

“In addition to the National Water Resources Bill, the water resources policies provide guidelines for operational activities in the water sector. Other important guiding instruments for the development and management of the nation’s water resources are the National Water Resources Masterplan, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 6, and the Water Sector Roadmap.


1.6      To optimize the available resources for efficient and effective management of the Nation’s Water Resources, the Ministry operates with six (6)Technical Departments, seven (7)Service Departments, nine (9) Service Units, three (3) Agencies and twelve (12)River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs).”


The Minister noted that, in line with the Water Sector Roadmap strategies, his stewardship undertook organizational restructuring of the Ministry and Agencies to improve service delivery in the sector, following which a comprehensive analysis of the Ministry’s structure was carried out to determine the manpower capacity development needs as well as professionalization to achieve its mandate.

“In this regard, the Departments of River Basin Operations & Inspectorate (DRBOI) and erstwhile Planning Research and Statistics (PRS) now known as Water Resources Planning & Technical Support Services have been professionalized and strengthened with relevant staff,” he noted, adding that “also, mandatory Career Progression Courses are being carried out and new ones developed to enhance staff capacity.”


He continued, “I am sure that you are familiar with Mr. President’s 9 priority areas of focus which include: stabilizing the macro-economy; achieving Agriculture and food security; ensuring energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; improving transportation and other infrastructure; driving industrialization; improving health, education and productivity of Nigerians; enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction; anti-corruption and improved governance; and security for all.

“Based on the aforementioned, the deliverables expected from the Ministry for 2019 – 2023 include: completion of all priority on-going dam and irrigation projects; aggressive implementation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes/projects, and end open defecation in Nigeria;

finalization and implementation of the Flood Management Master Plan for Rivers Niger and Benue; provision of support to the implementation of water management and water settlement projects in Nigeria in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP); active collaboration with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths; implementation of strategies towards the realization of Mr. Presidents June 12 promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.”


Giving highlights of major achievements, he said, “today, we are here to launch our5-year Compendium on Water Resources Development in Nigeria as it relates to our deliverables. The compendium is structured to outline major achievements of the Ministry and its Agencies.


“Project Prioritization and Completion: This Administration inherited 116 Nos. major on-going and abandoned projects on assumption of office in 2015, as follows:


  • Irrigation & Drainage – 38 Nos.
  • Dams – 37 Nos.
  • Water Supply – 41 Nos.


“Early in 2016, we undertook a Technical Audit and prioritized all the 116 uncompleted and abandoned projects. We then deployed most of our resources towards completing and commissioning all the high and medium priority projects from 2016 – 2020. Projects that we have ascertained as non-viable have been dropped completely. Thus far, we have completed 30Nos. of the high and medium priority projects and commissioned about 10 of them. We hope to commission many more soon as movement restrictions associated with COVID – 19 pandemic abates.”


Continuing, the Minister said, “After the technical audit, it became necessary to undertake costs review of some major projects in the Ministry to enable Contractors continue with their implementation to completion. To ensure value for money, contract revision requests(RETC) were subjected to several layers of scrutiny, review and negotiation under full watch of the Office of the Honourable Minister and relevant departments. The stringent processes enabled us to achieve substantial reduction on the request for contract review on 26 Nos major projects thereby saving aboutN53 Billion on the costs of the Contracts, even before review by the Bureau for Public Procurement. This achievement is profoundly significant to us in the Ministry as it showcases prudent management of resources, and high levels of transparency and accountability.”


Going further, he said, “Despite the increase in population and deteriorating infrastructure, the Ministry vigorously pursued strategic programmes to increase national access to water supply from 67% in 2015 to 71% in 2019. In line with these efforts, the following achievements were recorded:


  • We have completed 13Nos inherited major water supply projects:
  • Central Ogbia Regional Water Supply Project in Bayelsa State
  • Northern Ishan Regional Water supply schemes in Edo Sate
  • Rehabilitation/Reticulation of Ojirami Dam Water Supply in Edo State
  • Rehabilitation/Upgrading of Takum Water Supply in Taraba State
  • Rehabilitation of VOM Water Supply in Plateau State
  • Mangu Regional Water Supply (Intake works and Distribution Network) in Plateau State
  • Ekeremor Water Supply in Bayelsa State
  • Sabke, Dutsi and Mashi Water Supply in Katsina State.
  • Inyishi Regional Water Supply Extension to Mbaise in Imo State.
  • Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi Water Supply Project, Benue State
  • Zobe Water Supply Project, Katsina State
  • ABU Zaria Water Supply Project, Phase I, Kaduna State

–     Gambaki/Chinade/Hardawa/Bulkachuwa Water Supply Project, Bauchi State.

  • Implementation of additional 482 water supply projects is on-going across the country under the Specially Targeted Programs covering:
    • Water Supply initiative for North East & IDPs;
    • Water Supply Initiative for Federal Government Establishments;
    • Water Supply Initiative for Federal Government Tertiary Education Institutions.
  • Rehabilitation and construction of 1559 water facilities under the PEWASH programme;
  • Construction of over 2,300 additional Water Points across the country, creating 12,435 direct jobs and 24,870 indirect jobs from 2015 to date;
  • Securing the highest Political Commitment/Will to the sector through approval of the National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the WASH Sector including the declaration of ‘State of Emergency’ on the WASH sector by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
  • Implementation of a reform programme for State Water Agencies with support from Development Partners to improve capacity, revenue generation towards efficient operations and management of facilities, with 15 States currently participating in the reform programme; and
  • Increasing national access to basic water supply to 71% with over 9.59 million more people served from 2015 to date.

Engr. Adamu further stressed, “As we all know, water, sanitation and hygiene are crucial to life and socio-economic development of the nation.  About 70% of tropical ailments are water related and could be greatly reduced with potable water supply, improved sanitation and good hygiene practices. Some of the notable achievements under the WASH sub-sector include the following:


  • Declaration of ‘State of Emergency’ in the WASH Sector and launch of National WASH Action Plan on 8th November, 2018;
  • Securing Approval of FEC to roll out a National Programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria by 2025 tagged “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet” Campaign in November 2019;
  • Signing of Executive order 009 to end open defecation and preparation of a Bill for an Act to prohibit Urination and Defecation in the Open in Nigeria in November 2019;
  • Inauguration of Steering Committee to provide oversight function to the Clean Nigeria Campaign, chaired by the Vice President on 28th May, 2020
  • Collaboration with NOA on the ODF campaign
  • A total of 38 LGAs in 9 States certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) – (Benue (6), Cross River (6), Osun (1), Akwa-Ibom (1), Jigawa (6), Katsina (10) and Bauchi (4), Kano (3) and Kaduna (1);
  • A total of 6,546 sanitation compartments and Hygiene facilities constructed in public places (Markets, Schools, Motor parks, Health facilities, IDP host communities, and cholera hot spots) nationwide;
  • Collaboration with OPS-WASH in partnership with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to end Open Defecation through “Adopt a Toilet” model.
  • Securing buy-in of Micro Finance Institutions to actively engaged in Sanitation Financing (SanFin);
  • Construction of Water Quality monitoring laboratories and upgrade of existing laboratories to monitor the quality of Open Water bodies and drinking water nationwide;
  • Capacity building of States, LGAs, NGOs and CSOs on the implementation of Community Water Safety planning;
  • Development of Draft Policy on Wastewater Management in Nigeria;
  • Initiate open water bodies monitoring in all the eight Hydrological Areas (HAs) in Nigeria towards evaluating their status and identifying water bodies with good quality;
  • Conducted Nationwide Assessment of Drinking Water to facilitate evaluation of drinking water status in the country;
  • Establishment of water quality monitoring network on River Niger and its major tributaries in collaboration with Niger Basin Authority (NBA);
  • Development of Water Quality Management Roadmap towards achieving of water quality targets;
  • Development of Ambient and Irrigation Water Quality Standard;
  • Launch of Drinking Water Supply Standard developed with Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON);
  • Accreditation of the Water Quality Reference Laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025 standard;
  • Formation and training of WASH Committees (WASHComs) in various communities to own, supervise and maintain WASH facilities;
  • Facilitated tracking of all expenditure into the WASH sector by producing a WASH Account report showing what all sector actors spend on WASH yearly.


2.6      To support the present administration’s drive towards diversifying the economy, attain national food security and job creation, a 15-year National Irrigation Development Programme was initiated in 2016. In this regard, the following achievements were recorded:

  • Completion of (7) Nos irrigation schemes to bring actual area under irrigation in the country to 88,950 Ha;
  • Leasing of 55,000 Ha of Irrigation land to commercial farmers under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to empower local farmers;
  • Championing women empowerment through participation in Irrigated Agriculture in Bokwairi and Adare in Borno and Sokoto States respectively;
  • Completion of feasibility studies and designs of Integrated Irrigation Development at:
    • Nasarawa covering 6,600 Ha; and
    • Donga Suntai covering 6,000 Ha.
  • Implementation of Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) project with support from the World Bank of which the following Irrigation projects are on-going:
    • Bakalori Irrigation Project (13,500Ha);
    • Kano River Irrigation Project (14,400Ha);
    • Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project (6000Ha);
    • Dadin Kowa Irrigation Project (2000Ha);
  • Implementation of additional 43 irrigation projects at various stages of completion across the country, including development of Middle Rima Irrigation Project (5,000 Ha) and Gari Irrigation Project (2,000 Ha).

2.7     The Ministry has over 200dams spread across the country, which are being utilized for irrigation, water supply, hydropower generation, navigation improvement, etc. These dams are classified as large, medium and small. Within the reporting period, the following achievements were recorded under dams and hydropower development initiatives:


  • A total of ten (10) dam projects were completed to improve power generation, create employment and minimize flood incidence in the country.
  • Additional Six (6) dams are at different stages of development to further improve hydropower generation, which include:
    • Gurara 30MW Hydropower plant concession completed;
    • Kashimbila Dam (40MW Hydropower) concession in progress;
    • Dadin Kowa Dam (40 MW) concessioned and awaiting commissioning;
    • Gurara II Multipurpose Dam (360MW Hydropower) Contract signed;
    • Farin Ruwa Multipurpose dam (20MW Hydropower) contract awarded in June 2020;
    • Itisi Multipurpose Dam (40MW Hydropower) MoU with Kaduna State Government signed in May 2020.
  • The development of dam infrastructure across the country has created about 20,400 direct and 16,000 indirect jobs.


2.8     As you are all aware, there are twelve River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) under the supervision of the Ministry that were established to serve as operators, managers, and developers of water resources infrastructure to improve the socio-economic well-being of the grassroots population. To improve the performance of the RBDAs, some concrete steps were taken as follows:


  1. Developed a blueprint and action plan to revitalize the RBDAs;
  2. Restructured the Management of RBDAs;

iii.      Restored Agricultural Extension services;

  1. Adopted the concept of Songhai Model Integrated Agricultural Practice to boost Agricultural production and achieve integrated rural development;
  2. Introduced Graduate/Youth Farmers Empowerment Programme in 2016that has so far trained 8,617 youths;
  3. The process of partial commercialization is ongoing in four pilot RBDAs namely: Ogun-Osun, Niger-Delta, Upper Niger and Sokoto-Rima;
  • Constructed 42 small dams across the nation, six of which are currently being utilized to support 12 aquaculture farms to boost food security;
  • Leasing of 253 farmlands to the private sector for commercial farming, out of which 181 are fully utilized; and
  1. A total of 213,998 direct and indirect jobs created,” adding, “As one of the Agencies under the supervision of the Ministry, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency is saddled with the responsibility of assessing the nation’s vast water resources through the collection, collation, storage, analysis and dissemination of hydro-meteorological, water quality data and information. The Agency recorded the following achievements within the reporting period:


  • Established 9 automated hydrological stations in the last 5 years bringing the total automated hydrological stations to 31for continuous monitoring;
  • Published5 editions (2016 – 2020) of the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) to the nation focusing on early warning system to avert flood disasters;
  • Established Surface water monitoring Stations;
  • Established Automatic Weather Observatory Stations (AWOS) to provide information on Perennial Flooding;
  • Installed Data Collection Platforms for National Hydrometric Network;
  • Rehabilitated/re-established Manual Gauging Stations;
  • Established a hydrologic modelling system to enhance technical training of personnel; and
  • Developed Strategic Boreholes for effective Groundwater Monitoring Network.”

To enhance capacity development in the sector, he elaborated, the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI) was established in 1979, principally to facilitate the training of personnel and carry out applied research in all aspects of water resources. The Institute also maintains a Water Resources Library and publishes Water Resources journals. The Institute hosts the Category 2 UNESCO Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RC-IRBM).

“The achievements of the NWRI cover infrastructural development (6), training (9) and research development (9).”


On international engagements, he recounted as follows;

“Partnership and cooperation are important for effective trans-boundary water management. It is for this reason that Nigeria is in multilateral and bilateral relationship with riparian countries under the following platforms:


  • Niger Basin Authority (NBA);
  • Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC);
  • Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission (NCJC);
  • Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation (NNJCC);
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
  • African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW); and
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)


“Some of the benefits from these organizations/relations include:


  • Enhanced cooperation in the use of trans-boundary waters;
  • Provision of security;
  • Framework for information sharing
  • Preservation of ecosystem;
  • Flood management;
  • Support for the establishment of data collection platforms;
  • Rehabilitation of water infrastructure;
  • Socio-economic interventions for Youth and Vulnerable Groups (solar water supply, drip irrigation and goat rearing);
  • The Lake Chad Basin – Climate Change Resilience Action Plan (LCB – CRAP); and
  • Programme for the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Niger Basin (PIDACC-NB)


He also spoke on the increasing degradation of Lake Chad’s ecosystem which made it necessary for Governments of LCBC’s member countries to take some strategic measures to address the drying of the lake.

“You would also recall Nigeria’sUSD5million support for the feasibility studies of the inter-basin water transfer from Ubangi-Congo River to the Lake Chad basin. In 2018, Nigeria hosted the International Conference on Lake Chad which climaxed with “the Abuja Declaration” signed by the Heads of State and Governments of LCBC and endorsement of the Inter-Basin Water Transfer (IBWT) Project as the most viable option to revive the Lake. Advocacy is still being intensified to attract additional support of international communities towards implementation of the project for improved livelihood and security in the region.


“It is on record that the year 2020 has been most challenging due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted on many countries of the world. As a strategic partner in the management of the pandemic, the Ministry has taken some critical steps such as awareness campaigns on the role of WASH in curtailing COVID-19; development of activities in the water sector as contained in the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP); rehabilitation and construction of WASH facilities across the nation, among others.”



Concluding, he said, “In our attempt to improve productivity and staff motivation, my Ministry embarked on several service improvement initiatives which, inter alia, include:


  • Constant water supply in the Ministry;
  • Rehabilitation and upgrade of sanitation facilities;
  • Renovation of the old building;
  • Expansion of the parking lots;
  • Construction of additional facilities such as Canteen, Clinic and Gymnastic Center;
  • Improved transportation system (provision of additional buses).

3.6     In the same vein, the Ministry is passionately committed to the training and retraining of members of Staff as a means of building sustainable human resource capacity. The trainings cut across technical and non-technical officers of the Ministry. From 2016 to 2020, a total number 2,195 participants were trained in various courses to enhance service delivery.”



  • Tag: Engr. Suleiman Adamu presenting the Compendium


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