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Nigeria must restore damaged rivers-Minister

The Ministry said protecting rivers across the country will put the country’s economy in an enviable state. Photo: Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation/X

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, ProfJoseph Utsev has underscored the need for Nigerians to protect healthy rivers and restore those damaged by pollution, urbanization, climate change, and other human activities.

The World Rivers Day, is celebrated on 25 September globally to highlights the crucial role of rivers and waterways, and their significance and the need for their protection.

In a statement, Prof Utsev explained that the celebration strengthens Nigeria’s commitment to treating Rivers and lakes as living entities entitled to fundamental rights, legal guardianship, and personhood in line with the “Universal Declaration of River’s Rights.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation maintained that the celebration also gives the country the impetus to ensure the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of all vital Water Resources.

Prof Ustev believe that the roles of rivers in the country’s socio-economic life including providing water, nutrients, drainage, transportation routes, energy sources, fertile soil for agriculture, and supporting the water cycle and aquatic habitats cannot be over-emphasised.

He pointed out that the Ministry had constructed approximately 260 dams across Nigeria, impounded nearly 70 billion cubic meters of water for various purposes, including water supply, sanitation, irrigation, and hydropower generation.

Prof Ustev said the recent re-designation of the Ministry as the “Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation” and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security underscored the government’s commitment to address food security, environmental protection, improved access to safe water and sanitation, tackling rising food prices, and harnessing the potential of the agriculture value chain.

He added that the Ministry would continue to promote Integrated Agricultural Systems, such as the Songhai Integrated Farming Model, which is eco-friendly and supports cleaner energy options, including solar.

Writing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade, editing by Daniel Adejo