From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday disclosed that it partnered the Eni, through its Nigerian subsidiary Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), to commission a water scheme in Bama, Borno State.
The UN body noted that the effort was to improve access to water among the over 40, 000 conflict-affected residents in the northeast.
According to a statement issued by David Karls, FAO National Communications Officer, the scheme, involving a solar powered borehole, is the 10th established, as part of the Access to Water initiative implemented by Eni, FAO in collaboration with Eni partner, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The public-private sector partnership is expected to boost access to water for domestic consumption as well as small-scale agricultural activities like micro-gardening.
“In Bama alone, the water scheme is expected to reach 40 000 internally displaced people and the host community. Through the provision of clean water, FAO and ENI believe the intervention will improve sanitation and help restore livelihoods by making water available for dry season irrigation.
“In 2018, FAO and Eni established water schemes in Chibok, Biu, Damboa and Gwoza Local Government Areas, all in Borno state. The first of the 5 wells provided for the IDPs and host communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was commissioned in November 2018,” the statement reads.
The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Suffyan Koroma, while commissioning the facility in Bama, stressed the importance of the activity. “The solar boreholes and FAO’s larger investment in irrigation and water management is a signal of our commitment to support the government of Nigeria achieve her development goals. In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and recovery.”
Alberto Piatti, Eni’s Executive Vice President for Responsible and Sustainable Enterprise, said: “Access to water is a prerequisite for life. With the water schemes we commissioned in Borno state, we strive to increase access to clean water, thus impacting overall living conditions in the communities and contributing to the stabilization of the area.”
Impact on affected population
The “Access to Water” initiative is implemented in the framework of the Collaboration Agreement between FAO and Eni in Nigeria, geared towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG1 – No Poverty; SDG2 – Zero Hunger; SDG6 – Clean water and Sanitation; SDG13 – Climate Action and SDG17 – Public- Private Partnerships for the Goals.
The water schemes are solar-powered, provided with back-up power system to ensure availability and sustainability. Those dedicated to drinking are equipped with a reverse-osmosis plant to treat as well as purify the water. As part of the initiative, the relevant local authorities were also involved to provide support in training and sensitizing the communities on water management and practices for long-term sustainability.
Eni has been present in Nigeria since 1962 through its subsidiaries NAOC (Nigerian Agip Oil Company), AENR (Agip Energy and Natural Resources) and NAE (Nigerian Agip Exploration), with both onshore and offshore activities.
The statement reads: “Eni’s sustainability effort in Nigeria includes activities relating to agricultural development, access to energy, health, training, environmental protection, as well as specific initiatives for stakeholder engagement in local communities and promotion of transparency.
“This year, FAO marks its 40th year of officially establishing a representation in Nigeria this year, though its activities in Nigeria date back to the 1950s. Guided by its Country Programming Framework (CPF), the Organization is working with relevant ministries at the national and sub-national levels, providing strategic support to national development programmes and strategies aimed at reducing poverty, improving food and nutrition security, as well as the efficient management of natural resources.”