Eni and the Food and Agriculture Organisation have signed an agreement to foster access to safe and clean water in Nigeria by drilling boreholes powered with photovoltaic systems, both for domestic use and irrigation purposes.
The project aims to contribute to the humanitarian interventions for internally displaced persons and host communities, suffering from the North-East-Lake Chad crisis, which has led to unprecedented levels of population displacement and prolonged disruption of agricultural, livestock and fishing activities.
Eni disclosed the development in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the firm, the collaboration addresses the Federal Government’s request to oil and gas companies to provide support in alleviating the sufferings of the victims of insurgency in the North-East, by launching sustainable intervention programmes that will have a positive impact on the lives of affected communities.
“In this framework, the project is aligned to the ‘Buhari Plan-Rebuilding the North-East’ for comprehensive humanitarian relief and socio-economic stabilisation of the North-East,” it said.
The FAO Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Suffyan Koroma, commended the Federal Government’s initiative, saying the approach would support the efforts to rebuild livelihoods in the region, paving the way for intervention strategies to cascade from humanitarian to development nexus, as the insurgency ebbed out.
He said, “The North-East is not strange to the FAO, our interventions in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the three states most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, have helped Internally Displaced Persons in camps and those returning to liberated communities, including host communities, to return to their farms and pick up the bits and pieces of their lives again.”
The Eni’s Executive Vice-President for Responsible and Sustainable Enterprise, Alberto Piatti, was quoted as saying, “Public-private partnerships allow institutions to leverage the skills of the private sector and help companies to respond to development needs identified by institutions. They are an opportunity to enhance the role companies can play in sustainable development.”
The Access to Water project was the first initiative promoted in the FAO – Eni collaboration, the statement noted, stressing that within the project, the FAO would provide support in identifying the areas of intervention as well as technical expertise and know-how in the targeted areas.
It said Eni would drill the boreholes and provide them with photovoltaic power systems, including training for their use and maintenance for long-term sustainability.
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