NDDC partners European Union to resuscitate water schemes in Niger Delta
Recently, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and European Union (EU) had a retreat on the serene grounds of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort to discuss ways of resuscitating NDDC’s numerous but moribund water schemes in the Niger Delta. It is part of the third phase of EU’s Niger Delta Support Programme. Over time, NDDC’s goal of clean and safe water in an environment, whose fabled fresh water rivers and creeks are disastrously polluted by oil and gas exploration, have been largely compromised by lack of community ownership and sustainability of the projects.
Thus upon completion, the water would flow for a year or two or until the smallest maintenance or even power problem arose. And then the inevitable shutdown or abandonment would follow. With billions invested in the schemes, many including reticulation, NDDC has been looking for partners to help in training beneficiary communities to take ownership of the projects, volunteer for training in their technical management, and commit to proving five per cent of the cost of maintaining and sustaining them.
The EU has begun a pilot project of achieving these goals with 45 schemes (five from each of the nine Niger Delta states). Present at the retreat was Delta State Commissioner on NDDC board, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, who stood in for the Chairman of NDDC’s Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, on the opening day, other board members and management staff, EU contingent and representative of the Minister of Budget & Planning to agree on strategies for achieving the goal of safe water in the Niger Delta. The team visited two such schemes in Akwa Ibom.