Italian oil firm Eni and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have signed an agreement to foster access to safe and clean water in Nigeria. The two organisations have started drilling boreholes for domestic use and irrigation.
The project aims at assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities suffering from the Northeast-Lake Chad crises, which have led to displacements and prolonged disruption of agricultural activities, livestock and fishing.
The deal is in response to the Federal Government’s request to oil and gas companies to support the alleviation of the sufferings of victims of insurgency in the Northeast through sustainable interventions in the affected communities.
The project is aligned to the the “Buhari Plan – Rebuilding the Northeast” for socio-economic stabilisation of the region.
The FAO Country Representative to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African Sates (ECOWAS), Suffyan Koroma, praised the government’s initiative, saying the approach would support the efforts to rebuild livelihoods in the region.
He said: “The Northeast is not strange to FAO. Our interventions in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the three states most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, have helped Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), 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.”
Eni’s Executive Vice President for Responsible and Sustainable Enterprise Alberto Piatti said: “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 project is the first in the FAO-Eni collaboration. FAO will provide support in identifying the areas of intervention for the wells as well as technical expertise and know-how in the targeted areas, whereas Eni will drill the boreholes and provide them with photovoltaic power systems, including training for their use and maintenance for long term sustainability.