Water resources minister reacts to PREMIUM TIMES’ scorecard
The minister of water resources, Suleiman Adamu, has reacted to a scorecard (rating) of his performance one year in office.
In the official’s reaction, sent in by Kenechukwu Offie, the ministry’s director of information, Mr Adamu said he was given fewer credits than he deserved. He equally reeled a list of achievements he said were not captured in the report.
PREMIUM TIMES, in recent weeks, has published reports on the performances of virtually all the ministers appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari about one year ago. Mr Adamu’s performance was also rated.
The ratings were based on their promises upon assumption of office, challenges, their failures and achievements including objective assessments from experts in their fields of operation.
In Mr Adamu’s case, his performance was described as “woeful” by an expert in the water sector. Other experts, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they were unable to rate him high, due to his dismal record.
But Ms Offie said the analysis was ‘wrong’ “in view of the myriad of accomplishments under the dexterous watch of Suleiman Adamu”.
“The Minister who sees water as having assumed human right dimension and very important to life had maintained that the relevance of water to Nigeria’s national development is very pivotal to population growth, urbanisation and increased efforts at agriculture and industrial development…”
His full response is reproduced below:
SCORECARD: APPRAISING THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES UNDER ENGR. SULEIMAN H. ADAMU FNSE, FAEng.
The attention of the Information Unit of Federal Ministry of Water Resources has been drawn to a scorecard evaluation on the work of Engr. Suleiman Adamu FNSE, FAEng who is the Honourable Minister following his reappointment by President Buhari in August 2019 by Premium Times, an online News Medium.
In its online publication on the 16th of September, 2020, the news medium scored the Ministry under Adamu as underperforming, stating that the Ministry had been focusing more on advocacy visits to states across the country to campaign against open defecation in the last one year. The narrative opined that it is difficult to point out any achievement by the Ministry in the last one year. The report equally maintained that the Ministry failed because it did not provide potable water for Nigerians.
This evaluation is very wrong and appears to be as a result of a poorly researched work in view of the myriad of accomplishments under the dexterous watch of Suleiman Adamu. The Minister who sees Water as having assumed Human right dimension and very important to life had maintained that the relevance of water to Nigeria’s national development is very pivotal to population growth, urbanization and increased efforts at agriculture and industrial development. This relevance he said has increasingly brought to fore very key issues of our existence, thus occasioning the need for increased access to water for Nigerians.
Suffice it to note that Water Resources is on the concurrent list and the specific role of the Ministry is policy, administration and regulation of the Water Resources development and Management.
“The Water Sector is a pillar for food security, job creation, and water supply, sanitation and hydropower generation” Adamu had said at his most recent Ministerial Press Briefing in August 2020.
ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS
The Minister’s desire for a well repositioned sector in the last one year is borne out of the Next Level Agenda’ of President Muhammadu Buhari focusing on the three cardinal issues of economic diversification, social inclusiveness and security which are succinctly aligned with the vision, mission and mandate of the Ministry.
Furthermore, the activities of the Ministry under the leadership of Adamu is guided by three major strongholds which are The National Water Resources Master plan (2015 – 2030); United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and the Water Sector Roadmap (2016 – 2030).
The Ministry fully implemented the WASH Action Programme in the last 12 months where 34 water supply projects have been completed, 159 rural water supply schemes in the North East, IDP camps and some Federal institutions and establishments were constructed, 895 water supply schemes in 10 States of Imo, Katsina, Jigawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Sokoto, Ondo, Osun, Delta and Bauchi are under construction, rehabilitation and upgrade leading to additional 2.4 million Nigerians gaining access to Water Supply in the last 12 months.
The River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) have now been strategically placed to facilitate National Food Security and support employment opportunities.The RBDAs are being constantly revitalized to deliver on their mandate, to the extent that core and relevant Professionals are appointed to the headship of the Agencies.
For optimal utilization of River Basin Development Agency land and irrigation facilities and to support diversification of the economy, guarantee food security and job creation for Nigerians, the Ministry is expanding hectares for irrigation farming as follows
Ejule-Ojebe (50 ha);
Sector 1 of Gari Irrigation Project (248ha);
Bakalori Irrigation Scheme (4,825ha);
Kano River Irrigation Scheme (1,600ha);
Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme (2,250ha);
Rehabilitation of Duku-Lade Irrigation Project (800h).
Additional 2000 Ha has been leased out to commercial farmers bringing the total to 55,000 Ha from 2016 to date.
The Songhai Model, an integrated Agricultural Practice introduced to boost Agricultural production and achieve integrated rural development has been replicated in five RBDAs and till date, 253 farmlands have been leased to the private sector for commercial farming, out of which 181 are fully utilized. Also, the process of partial commercialization of four pilot RBDAs which includes Ogun-Osun, Niger-Delta, Upper Niger and Sokoto-Rima are underway.
Similarly, during the year under review, the Ministry’s efforts on improving Sanitation in the country led to the Flag-off of the “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet” Campaign in November, 2019 towards making Nigeria Open Defecation Free by 2025.
Likewise, the promulgation of the Executive Order No. 009 in November 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari to end Open Defecation by 2025 has yielded Certification of additional 14 LGAs being Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the last 12 months while 10 LGAs are awaiting ODF validation.
The Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) is another flag-ship initiative of this administration where the Federal Government and the States come in partnership to provide water supply in the country, this initiative has led 22 State Governments to endorse the PEWASH protocols while 11 more States have recently signed up bringing the total to 33 states.
In line with Mr. President’s desire to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, the Ministry has ensured that both direct and indirect jobs are created in the Implementation of its projects and programmes. A total of 57,261 direct jobs and 111,588 indirect jobs have been created through the various dam, irrigation and water supply projects completed within the reporting period.
To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which has impacted on all aspects of our lives causing untold hardship and stress to the populace, potable water, sanitation and hygiene are critical to the eradication of the virus, the Ministry has taken strategic steps to help fight the pandemic even with budgetary constraints.
The Ministry is rehabilitating 185 Water Supply Projects in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, constructing 185 Solar Powered Water Supply Projects (5 per State and FCT), constructing 370 Public Sanitation Facilities (10 per State and FCT), supporting State Water Agencies for their operations to ensure uninterrupted Water Supply, suppling 370 Contactless Hand washing Facilities with Soap and Sanitizers (10 per State and FCT) and engaging 77,400 Youth Volunteers for Handwashing and Open Defecation Free Campaigns.
The determination and unrelenting quest to improve access to potable water, reduce the incidence of water borne diseases, improve sanitation facilities, enhance food security through irrigation agriculture and the implementation of water resources projects and programmes according to international best practices has been Engr. Adamu’s cardinal goal since he assumed office as Minister of Water Resources.
The Ministry also is in the process of commencing a Management Master Plan Study for Rivers Niger and Benue. The project is designed to improve navigation, flood control, agriculture for enhanced food production and minimize cost of dredging the river channels. It will also engender prosperity accruable from fresh water supply and other economic activities. Although this is a long-term project, the Ministry has kick-started the process of ensuring its implementation.
The Agencies and Parastatals under the Ministry include the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, National Water Resources Institute and the 12 River Basin Development Agencies (RBDAs). These agencies and parastatals are also vehicles through which the Ministry contributes to the socio-economic activities of the nation:
However, even though a lot has been said about the inadequacy of water supply in the States. it is not the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide Water in households or industrial use. The Federal Government however strategically works to provide support to various States on needs basis, up to 30% for urban and 50% for rural water supply schemes respectively.
It is as a result of the lack of investments of the state and local governments in providing potable water to the people that the Ministry under the leadership of the of the Hon Minister introduced the PEWASH programme in 2016 and the National WASH Action Plan which led to the formal declaration of a State Emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector by President Buhari in November, 2018.
It is noteworthy that upon assumption of duty in 2015, the Hon Minister embarked upon Project Prioritization and Completion.
A total of 116 Nos on-going and abandoned contracts/projects were inherited in 2015, made up of:
i. Irrigation & Drainage – 38Nos
ii. Dams & Reservoir – 37Nos
iii. Water Supply – 41Nos
Many of the projects were either abandoned or comatose because they required review of scope/cost and/or lacked consistent funding to complete. Outstanding liabilities on these contracts stood at N 88,848,112,579.77 with total contractual commitment to completion projected at N 264,990,081,982.53.
3.2.2 Early in 2016, a Technical Audit was conducted, and all the 116 uncompleted and abandoned projects were categorized into high, medium and low priorities (Summary of Technical Audit Report is available in the Ministry) Resources were committed towards completing and commissioning some of the high and medium priority projects between 2017-2020. Projects that were ascertained as non-viable by the Technical Audit have been cancelled or determined. So far, the following eleven (11) projects have been completed and commissioned: