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AFD Says It has Invested Over $233 million in Nigeria’s Water Sector

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AFD Says It has Invested Over $233 million in Nigeria’s Water Sector

By: Michael Mike

Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a group that implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity, said a total of USD 233 million has been invested in Nigeria’s water sector.

In a statement on Friday, AFD said to date, four Water Boards and Corporations still benefit from AFD’s financial and technical support, namely: Kano, Enugu, Ondo, and Plateau. Through these interventions, over 1,800,000 people should either get better access or a new access to water. With the long-term goal to increase the water supply to local residents, these interventions include two complementary components:

AFD said water is one of the most basic and important need to human life and development. “Cooking, drinking, farming and hygiene: all those vital needs depend on water. Yet, this resource remains unevenly spread. If the southern part of Nigeria benefits of heavy rain with more than 3 000 mm yearly in Calabar and over 1 700mm in Lagos, the central part sees two major rivers, Niger and Benue, flowing across its territory, while the northern part is characterized by a dryer climate, meaning less rain, fewer and smaller rivers. In Kano for instance, less than 700mm of rain fall every year.”

It added that: “If water is essential to life, it can also be related to conflicts, damages and diseases. The diversity of water uses such as irrigation, cattle breeding, drinking water, industrial and touristic activities, can also lead to conflicts. Also, flooding which is Nigeria’s top natural disaster often results in important damages and sometimes death. In addition, the absence of sanitation poses a major threat to public health and to the environment, which can have dramatic human consequences.

“Water supply remains a major stake for Nigeria, whether in urban or rural areas. In 2019, more than 62 million Nigerians representing 30% of the population, had no access to basic water supply. In the years to come, investment needs in infrastructure will remain important in the country. In 2018, only 16 States out of 36 had operational urban water public utilities. Six States did not have water utilities at all. In a context of global warming and with a growing population, water supply however remains a strategic sector for Nigeria’s sustainable development.”

It said: “For more than 15 years, AFD has been funding Water Boards and Corporations across 7 States. Impactful projects jointly financed with the World Bank were successfully completed in Cross-Rivers and Lagos benefiting to over one million people. In Calabar and other Cross rivers towns for instance, water availability increased from 6 hours a day to 23 hours.

“In 2023, the first water project funded by AFD alone (33 million USD) came to an end. This support to the 3rd National Urban Water Sector reform program in Ogun State contributed to increase and improve the water supply of Abeokuta’s population.

“A total of USD 233 million has been invested by AFD in the sector. To date, 4 Water Boards and Corporations still benefit from AFD’s financial and technical support, namely: Kano, Enugu, Ondo, and Plateau. Through these interventions, over 1,800,000 people should either get better access or a new access to water. With the long-term goal to increase the water supply to local residents, these interventions include two complementary components:

“Provide sustainable infrastructure through the construction or rehabilitation of water plants and the expansion of the existing water supply network (SDG6 Water and SDG3 Health);

“Improve water services through streamlined governance and institutional strengthening.

“Improving water services can be achieved through the establishment of water tariff policies, the implementation of metering systems which can increase the financial autonomy and technical capacities of Water Boards and Corporations. To improve the long-term viability of urban water supply systems, it is also key to lower the maintenance costs, while optimizing operating costs and future investments.

It however stated that: “The rapid demographic growth of Nigeria will require decades of investments in the sector to provide high quality water to the population. In addition, the climate change effects that Nigeria is already witnessing, will have a significant impact on the availability and distribution of water resources and its related human activities.
The risks of conflict between uses may increase, affecting rural areas and agriculture, as it is already the case in several Nigerian States.

Beyond the intensification of conflicts between breeders and farmers, the food production capacities could be impacted. In addition, the risk of flooding will most certainly increase, whether in urban or rural areas. Without a proper water resources management, the economic and human consequences could hamper Nigeria’s economic growth.”

AFD Says It has Invested Over $233 million in Nigeria’s Water Sector

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Four Zamfara Bandit Groups’ Peace Deal Goes Sour

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Four Zamfara Bandit Groups’ Peace Deal Goes Sour

By: Zagazola Makama

The fierce rivalry among some of the bandit groups operating in Zamfara State has intensified with four of the most-dreaded groups issuing serious warning of deadly reprisals against each other.

Intelligence sources told Zagazola Makama, that some of the groups also dismiss the possibility of striking peace deals against the others, as they announce their maintenance of confrontational stance against the others.

Last Saturday, April 14, 2024, representatives of three of the four groups – Dan Karami Gwaska and Alhaji Shingi groups, reportedly converged at Usu village in Birnin-Magaji Local Government Area to discuss a peace deal among them. Bello Turji group did not attend the meeting.

Ado Aleru represented the Alhaji Shingi group; Bello Tagoje represented the Kachalla Halilu group; while Ardo Na-shawari, Alhaji Ali, Alhaji Shamago and the youngest son of Dan Karami Gwaska represented the Gwaska group.

The Shingi group, represented by Ado Aleru, gave a serious warning to the Gwaska group never again to set feet on any community other than Tsanu and Rukudawa of Zurmi Local Government Area. They warned further that if Gwaska flouts their warning, they would kill him and some of his men.

To further buttress their stand the three bandits Leaders, Ado Allero, Dan Yusufa and Mali already stationed their men in the North of Tsafe, in preparation for any confrontation.

As another condition for peace, they the Shingi group demanded that Dan Karami Gwaska returned the cattle he rustled believe bging to one Hassan at Bafashi of Safana LGA of Katsina State.

They also demanded that Dan Karami Gwaska returned the weapons belonging to Sani Dangote, who he killed the previous week; and he should also purchase new motorcycles as compensation for the ones he burnt belonging to Dangote’s men.

The Dan Karami Gwaska group agreed to all the conditions.

However, Bello Turji, who neither attended the meeting nor sent representatives, dismissed the possibility of any peace deal between him and Gwaska, assuring that he would continue hunting for Gwaska to kill him.

Four Zamfara Bandit Groups’ Peace Deal Goes Sour

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Chibok Schoolgirls Abduction’s Commemoration: UNICEF Calls for Intensified Protection of Nigerian Children

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Chibok Schoolgirls Abduction’s Commemoration: UNICEF Calls for Intensified Protection of Nigerian Children

By: Michael Mike

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for intensified efforts to protect the country’s most vulnerable population—its children.

The call was made in a statement marking the 10 year commemoration of the abduction of schoolgirls by terrorist group Boko Haram from Chibok, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.

The statement read that: “As Nigeria marks 10 years since the mass Chibok abductions in the Northeast, 90 girls remain in captivity, and the country is recovering from another abduction of schoolchildren in Kaduna state in March of this year. UNICEF is calling for intensified efforts to protect the country’s most vulnerable population—its children.

A report, Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report released by UNICEF on Monday revealed a stark reality that the journey toward ensuring every Nigerian child can learn in a safe environment is far from over.

The report showed that just 37 per cent of schools across 10 states have early warning systems in place to identify threats, such as school attacks.

UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Cristian Munduate said: “The kidnapping of the Chibok girls was a wake-up call to the severe risks our children face in their pursuit of education,” adding that: “Today, reflecting on this tragedy and other recent abductions, it is evident that our efforts to safeguard our children’s futures must be amplified. Given these alarming statistics, we must address not only the symptoms but also the root causes of this crisis. Education is a fundamental right and a crucial pathway out of poverty. Yet, for too many Nigerian children, it remains an unattainable dream.”

The analysis looked at six result areas – strong school system, violence against children, natural hazards, conflict, everyday hazards, and safe school infrastructure – and uncovered significant disparities in the implementation of safe school standards across Nigerian states.

It shows Borno State, with a 70 per cent fulfilment of the standards, exemplifies a strong commitment to child safety amidst adversity. Yobe State also demonstrates promising progress. In contrast, Kaduna and Sokoto states lag significantly, with fulfilment rates at just 25 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively. In addition to the finding on early warning systems and conflict, the report shows that while schools perform relatively well in terms of training school-based management committees on safety and responding to children’s well-being concerns, only 14 per cent of the participating schools across the 10 assessed states have functioning, safe, accessible infrastructure and just 36 per cent have school staff trained on natural hazards.

According to the statement, “the analysis comes on the heels of disturbing reports of violence affecting schools with brazen abductions of students on the rise. In the last 10 years, conflict-related violence has led to more than 1,680 children abducted while at school and elsewhere; 180 children killed due to attacks on schools; an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed; and more than 70 attacks on schools, according verified reports by the United Nations.

“The threat of abduction of students is severely affecting children’s learning. As of 2021, over one million children were afraid to return to school, and in 2020, around 11,500 schools were closed due to attacks, according to Policy Weekly by Nextier.”

UNICEF Nigeria therefore called for the government, partners, and the international community to take decisive action to: Ensure all schools across all states have the resources and tools to fully implement the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, focusing on the most vulnerable regions; Address critical gaps in safe school infrastructure, preparedness for natural disasters, conflicts, and comprehensive approaches to violence against children; Strengthen law enforcement and security measures to protect educational institutions and communities from attacks and abductions.

“Prioritize education and child protection in national policies and budget allocations to create a safer, more inclusive environment for all Nigerian children; Ensure the continuity of education and learning when schools are shut through multiple learning pathways such as radio and TV programmes and through digital platforms like the Nigeria Learning Passport.”

UNICEF said it is working with the government to ensure that every child can access safe learning environments, adding that it has supported the inauguration of state safe school steering committees and the drafting of state costed implementation plans for safe schools in 13 states, as well as provide school grants, safety kits, training and awareness raising to accelerate the implementation of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools.

NigerianMunduate said: “As we remember the Chibok girls and all children whose right to education has been compromised, let this somber anniversary serve as a catalyst for change. However, we must acknowledge the recent abductions, which underscore the persistent vulnerability of our schools. To ensure that schools are safe havens, strong political will and proper implementation of safe school standards are essential. Together, we can restore trust between educational institutions and the communities they serve, ensuring schools are sanctuaries for learning and growth.”

Chibok Schoolgirls Abduction’s Commemoration: UNICEF Calls for Intensified Protection of Nigerian Children

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Marwa: With 50,901 Arrests, 9,034 Convictions We Have Sent a Message to Drug Cartels

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Marwa: With 50,901 Arrests, 9,034 Convictions We Have Sent a Message to Drug Cartels

By: Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said that the arrest of 50,901 drug offenders including 46 barons and the successful prosecution and conviction of 9,034 of them as well as the seizure of over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances in the past 38 months has sent the right message to drug cartels and their kingpins that Nigeria won’t tolerate their criminal activities.

Marwa stated this in Lagos on Monday in his remarks at the commissioning and handing over ceremony of an operational facility built and donated to NDLEA by the British government.

He commended the British government for its generous support, noting that it would further boost the capability of the anti-narcotic agency in tackling the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

He said: “We gather here not just to commission a new building complex but to celebrate a significant milestone in our ongoing fight against the scourge of licit and illicit drug trafficking. Today, we commission the newly acquired building, a project made possible through the generous support of the British Government.

“I must begin by expressing our deepest gratitude to the British Government, for their unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions to our cause. From the onset of our collaboration, the UK has been a steadfast ally in our relentless pursuit to neutralise transnational organised criminal activities, particularly in the realm of illicit drug production and trafficking.

“This building complex stands not only as a physical structure but as a symbol of the enduring partnership between our two nations in the global fight against drug trafficking. It represents the culmination of years of cooperation, mutual trust, and shared determination to combat one of the most pressing threats to our societies.

“The significance of this project cannot be overstated. It will serve as a vital hub for data analysis and strategic planning in our efforts to disrupt drug trafficking networks and apprehend those responsible. With state-of-the-art facilities and technology at our disposal, we are better equipped than ever before to tackle this complex and ever-evolving challenge head-on.

“But beyond the bricks and mortar, this building complex embodies the spirit of collaboration and solidarity that defines our partnership with the British Government. It is a testament to what can be achieved when nations come together with a shared purpose and a shared commitment to making our world a safer place for all.

“As an agency, NDLEA has undergone a tremendous reformation, with its metamorphosis catalysed by partners like the UK. Our operations have undergone substantial reforms, resulting in remarkable achievements within the last three years.

“During this period, the NDLEA achieved significant milestones in its mission to combat drug trafficking and abuse. With a total of 50,901 arrests, including the apprehension of 46 drug barons, our agency has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to bringing those involved in illicit drug activities to justice.

“Furthermore, the conviction of 9,034 offenders underscores our relentless pursuit of accountability and deterrence in the fight against drug-related crimes.

“Our seizure of 7,560,748.5 kilograms (7,561 tonnes) not only disrupts the flow of illegal drugs but also serves as a significant blow to the criminal networks responsible for their distribution. We have taken decisive action against illicit drug crop cultivation with our search-and-destroy campaign against cannabis plantations which have led to the destruction of 1,057.33348 hectares of cannabis farms in the past three years.”

Marwa, while acknowledging officials of the British government that facilitated the realisation of the project especially Mr. Dave Carter, he called for the strengthening of the partnership between Nigeria and the UK. “As we stand on the threshold of a new chapter in our partnership, let us reaffirm our shared commitment to intensifying the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. Let us continue to work hand in hand, across borders and boundaries, to disrupt criminal networks, intercept illegal drugs, and bring to justice those who seek to profit from the illicit drug trade.”

He stated that though so much has been achieved under his leadership of the agency, the battle against illicit drugs is far from over. “Let us redouble our efforts, with renewed vigour and determination, as we strive to build a safer, more secure future for generations to come”, he charged.

Speaking at the ceremony, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jonny Baxter assured of continued support to NDLEA and Nigeria. According to him, “We, the UK government are delighted to have this long-standing relationship with the NDLEA and I’m in particular delighted to have been personally in a number of activities especially your maritime. This building makes a whole set of different actors and capabilities to address any criminal activity.

“We’re delighted to continue our support for the NDLEA and the Nigerian government to tackle what is sadly a global industry, which needs a global response. I’ll like to join the chairman in affirming our continued support, our continued cooperation and indeed our continued pride in working together with ladies and gentlemen of this agency, the NDLEA.”

Marwa: With 50,901 Arrests, 9,034 Convictions We Have Sent a Message to Drug Cartels

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