The Federal Government has raised the alarm that River Niger is drying up.
To save the river from the fate that befell Lake Chad, the Federal Government, with others bordering the River Niger, have approved an environmental audit of the river.
Addressing reporters at the end of the Sixth Annual Meeting of African Organisation Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Environmental Audit (AFROSAI WGEA) in Abuja, yesterday, Acting Auditor of the Federation (AuGF) Mrs Florence Anyanwu confirmed River Niger was drying up.
She noted that countries bordering the river have approved the environmental audit, and that this will begin at the end of the Abuja meeting.
According Anyanwu, “talks are ongoing on the cooperative environmental audit project on River Niger by Niger Basin Authority, consisting of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’ Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”
She lamented that a dry ing River Niger posed social, environmental and economic threat to communities bordering the river.
When completed, government can then save the river from further deterioration, and ensure its continued benefit to bordering communities.
With regards to Lake Chad that significantly lost a large portion of its body of water, the chair of the AFROSAI WGEA, Mrs Mbah Acha Rose Fomundam said the audit report of the Lake Chad had been sent to governments of the four countries to come up with laws to save the river from total evaporation.
Lake Chad is a shallow lake that ordinarily should be fed with constant rain, but the lake suffer from sustained drop in the volume of rainfall, and a growing population depending on it for water, fishing and agriculture.
Fomundam noted that “despite the signing of multilateral agreements on the environment and established institutions, scientific studies showed that many of the planet’s ecosystems have deteriorated over the last 20 years.”
She added that “citizens have increasingly expected that organisations hurting the environment be held accountable for their actions, with many citizens feeling that government declarations concerning the environment and sustainable development should be subject to independent audits to assess the extent to which they are implemented.”
In her address, Minister of Environment Mrs Amina Mohammed said “environmental auditing is an essential component of sustainable environmental management, as it provides the mechanism for allowing government to know what has gone wrong over time, and highlights the need for urgent policy action.”
She added that “our environment is our sustenance, and unless we care for it, our lives will be at risk. Unless we have a clear knowledge of what is happening to our environment, we may not be able to make appropriate policies for sustainable environmental management.”