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Eni, NNPC, FAO launch solar-powered water schemes in N’East

Italian oil giant, Eni, through its Nigerian subsidiaries Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), and Agip Energy & Natural Resources (AENR), and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), have inaugurated 11 water schemes in Borno and Yobe states, North-East Nigeria.

The integrated water schemes comprised boreholes, solar power systems, treatment facilities and fetching points provide water for domestic consumption and irrigation purposes, Eni said in an official statement. 

The company said the water projects 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 Company (NNPC).

The initiative is 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.

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, stressed the importance of the 11 facilities as they were handed over to the authorities of Borno and Yobe states

He was quoted: “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 to achieve its development goals. In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and livelihood recovery.”

Improving wellbeing

Also, Eni’s Head of Sustainable Development, Alberto Piatti, 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 enhancing 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 initiative is 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.

Eni explained that the official inauguration 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 is said to have contributed to improving sanitation and restoring the livelihoods of about 67,000 people, including internally displaced people and their host communities.

The water schemes are solar-powered and provided with a 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 and its sustainability efforts in the country include 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.

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