The Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, has observed that rivers drain about 75% of the earth’s land surface thereby providing transportation routes, source of energy and fertile soil for farming. Additionally, they play significant roles in the water cycle, especially in the formation of rain, supply of food in the form of nutrients, and provision of habitat for aquatic plants and animals.
The Minister stated this, Monday, in Abuja, at the Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the maiden edition of World Rivers Day in Nigeria. The theme of this year’s Rivers Day Celebration is “Waterways in our Communities” with particular emphasis on maintaining efficient River flow and hydrologic connectivity.
In his briefing, Engr. Adamu noted that this maiden celebration is sequel to the approval of the National Council on Water Resources at its 27th meeting of 4th December, 2020 in Abuja, for the purpose of creating awareness carrying out advocacy on the importance of Rivers. The Council also directed the 12 River Basin Development Authorities, all states and other stakeholders to key into the celebration to mark the World Rivers Day on the last Sunday of September of every year, in line with United Nations’ approval.
The Minister emphasized that the objective of the global event was to galvanize actions towards effective response to the different threats to Rivers and seek innovative ways of improving the quality of river water, as well as maintaining healthy environment for aquatic lives.
The River – Side celebration by stakeholders and “Friends of the River” took place in Nigeria at the following locations across the states and FCT: River Wupa, Airport Road, Abuja, FCT; River Kwa, Akamkpa L.G.A, Cross River State, River Benue at Geriyo in Yola, River Otamiri at Egbu in Owerri, River Ikpoba at Ikpoba Hill in Benin City, River Ngada in Maiduguri, River Benue in Makurdi, River Ogun in Abeokuta, River Rafi-Yashi in Bosso L.G.A, Niger State, River Asa, Aliara in Ilorin, New Calabar River in Port-Harcourt, River Etiope in Etiope L.G.A., Delta State, River Challawa at Gadar Danko in Kano and River Kaduna in Kaduna.
After the press briefing, at the River Wupa Site, Toge, Airport Road, Abuja, the Minister appealed to all the neighbouring communities to River Wupa to emulate best practices through careful and responsible use of the river in order to protect and conserve it for the future generation. He equally called on all Nigerians to understand that our Rivers are not refuse dumps, hence they must: stop open defecation in the Rivers; stop discharging sewage into the rivers; stop discharge of untreated effluents into the Rivers; stop all forms of pollution of the Rivers; stop building structures on River waterways; and stop all forms of abuses of the Rivers.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, FMWR, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, had said that the observance of the 2021 World Water Day in Nigeria is in recognition of its importance to the core mandates of the Ministry of Water Resources, especially water conservation in terms of quantity and quality, following which the Ministry is taking the lead in the advocacy for river protection and conservation in Nigeria.
The District Head of Toge Community, Mr. Samson Biko, thanked the Federal Government for choosing River Wupa that flows through his community for the maiden celebration and promised to ensure that the river is kept clean at all times.
High point of the celebration included the Symbolic Clean-up of River Wupa and planting of Memorial Tree at the river side by the Honourable Minister assisted by the Permanent Secretary.