Abuja (Nigeria), 23 March 2022 – Eni, through its Nigerian subsidiaries Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE) and Agip Energy & Natural Resources (AENR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have commissioned 11 water schemes in Borno and Yobe States, North-East Nigeria.
The integrated water schemes – comprised of boreholes, solar power systems, treatment facilities and fetching points – provide water for domestic consumption and irrigation purposes. They were constructed under the framework of the “Access to Water” initiative implemented by FAO and Eni, in collaboration with Eni’s partner, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). This public-private partnership leverages the skills and know-how of the public and private sectors to improve access to water for the communities affected by the humanitarian crisis in the North East.
The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero, while stressing on the importance of the eleven facilities as they were handed over to the authorities of Borno and Yobe States said: “The solar boreholes and FAO’s larger investment in irrigation and water management is a signal of our commitment to support the government of Nigeria achieve its development goals. In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and livelihood recovery.”
Alberto Piatti, Eni’s Head of Sustainable Development, said: “The handover of the water schemes is a cornerstone in the collaboration with FAO in the region that is contributing to improve the life of the communities. With the completion of the project, thousands of people will have access to clean water, which is a concrete step to enhance the overall living conditions of the inhabitants, providing them a safe source also for other uses, such as agriculture, to boost concrete social development”.
The water wells, powered with photovoltaic systems, were completed between 2018 and 2020 in various communities located in selected Local Government Areas of Borno (Chibok, Biu, Damboa, Gwoza LGAs) and Yobe (Machina, Fune, Gujba, Geidam, Bade, Potiskum and Fika LGAs). The official commissioning and handover of the water schemes could not be held until now due to the volatile situation of the area.
Since 2018, Eni and FAO have implemented a total of 22 water well projects under the framework of this Access to Water initiative: 5 in Abuja Federal Capital Territory and 17 in North-East Nigeria, notably in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Overall, the initiative has contributed to improving sanitation and restoring the livelihoods of about 67,000 people, including internally displaced people and their host communities.
The first water well, providing water for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community in Waru, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was commissioned in November 2018, and the remaining 4 water schemes in FCT were commissioned in November 2019. One of the five water schemes located in Borno State (Bama LGA) was commissioned in June 2019, while five located in Adamawa State were commissioned in October 2021.
The “Access to Water” initiative is implemented in the framework of the Collaboration Agreement between FAO and Eni in Nigeria, geared towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG1 – No Poverty; SDG2 – Zero Hunger; SDG6 – Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG13 – Climate Action, and SDG17 – Partnerships for the Goals.
The water schemes are solar-powered and provided with back-up power system to ensure availability and sustainability. Those producing drinking water are equipped with a reverse-osmosis plant to treat and purify the water. As part of the initiative, the relevant local authorities are involved to provide support in training and sensitizing the communities on water management and practices for long-term sustainability.
Eni has been present in Nigeria since 1962 through its subsidiaries NAOC (Nigerian Agip Oil Company), AENR (Agip Energy and Natural Resources) and NAE (Nigerian Agip Exploration), with both onshore and offshore activities. Eni’s sustainability effort in Nigeria includes activities on agricultural development, access to energy, health, training, environmental protection, as well as specific initiatives for stakeholder engagement in local communities and promotion of transparency.
FAO presence in Nigeria though predates independence, Nigeria became a member country in 1963 but FAO officially established its office with the full compliments of a Representative more than 40 years ago in 1978. Guided by its Country Programming Framework (CPF), the Organization is working with relevant ministries at the national and sub-national levels, providing strategic support to national development programmes and strategies aimed at reducing poverty, improving food and nutrition security, the efficient management of natural resources as well as Emergency Management towards Strengthening the Humanitarian – Development Nexus.