Buhari seeks global backing to develop Niger Basin, completes tenure as NBA chair


President Muhammadu Buhari has called for global support to develop the resources in the Niger Basin area to over 160 million people who depend on the River as a means of sustenance.

President Buhari made the call on Thursday while declaring open the virtual 12th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA).

The President said the Niger River commonly called Djoliba in Guinea and Mali, offers enormous development opportunities in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, fish farming, hydro-power, hydraulics and navigation.

‘‘It is therefore necessary to continue to promote its enormous potential for the benefit of our people, and to improve the socio-economic development of the region,’’ he said.

Buhari expressed appreciation to Technical and Financial Partners, including African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the German Financial Cooperation (KFW), for identifying with the vision and projects of the authority.

He urged them to continue to support efforts at developing the Niger Basin in the fight against pollution and the degradation of ecosystems, in order to manage its resources in a sustainable and equitable manner.

President Buhari, who just completed his tenure as the Chairman of the NBA Leaders’ Summit, also used the occasion to give account of his five-year stewardship, piloting the affairs of the institution.

Lists achievements

The President listed the on-going programmes to include the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Niger Basin financed by the AfDB, GEF, KFW and NBA Member Countries to improve the resilience of the Niger River ecosystems and populations through a sustainable management of natural resources.

He explained that the climate change programme will cover the nine NBA member-countries- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

Congratulates new chairman

Meanwhile, President Buhari has congratulated President Roch Kaboré of Burkina Faso on his appointment as the new Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA).

In his closing address at the virtual 12th summit, President Buhari said the Institution had ‘‘the utmost confidence’’ in President Kabore’s ability to steer the affairs of the Niger Basin Authority for the next two years.

He also congratulated member states of NBA for a job well done, calling on them to continue to muster the needed political will and courage to implement the far-reaching decisions agreed at the Summit.

The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, expressed appreciation and gratitude to leaders and member-countries who attended the Summit as well as their ‘‘unwavering support and cooperation during my five year tenure as Chairman of Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Authority.”