Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for global support to develop the resources in the Niger Basin area, home to over 160 million people who depend on the river as a means of sustenance.

The Niger River commonly called Djoliba in Guinea and Mali offers enormous development opportunities in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, fish farming, hydropower, hydraulics, and navigation, Buhari noted while declaring open the virtual 12th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA).

“It is, therefore, necessary to continue to promote its enormous potential for the benefit of our people, and to improve the socio-economic development of the region,” the Nigerian leader said.

Buhari, who is the outgoing chairman of the NBA leaders’ summit, urged the technical and financial partners of the authority to continue to support efforts at developing the Niger Basin in the fight against pollution and the degradation of ecosystems, in order to manage its resources in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Among the ongoing programs of the authority are the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Niger Basin and the NBA member-countries to improve the resilience of the Niger River ecosystems and populations through sustainable management of natural resources, he said.

The climate change program, he explained, will cover the nine NBA member-countries which are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad. Enditem

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