The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Eni, through its subsidiary Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), have inaugurated a solar-powered water scheme in Bama, Borno.

FAO in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Tsokar David, on Monday in Abuja, said the water scheme has become imperative to improve access to potable water among the conflict-affected areas in the north-east.

David in the statement said that the scheme was the 10th established as part of effort to boost access to water.

He said the programme tagged: “Access to Water initiative,” was implemented in collaboration between FAO and Eni/Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Suffyan Koroma, while inaugurating the facility in Bama, stressed the importance of the intervention.

“In Bama alone, the water scheme is expected to reach 40,000 internally displaced people and the host community.

“Through the provision of clean water, FAO and ENI believe the intervention will improve sanitation and help restore livelihoods by making water available for dry season irrigation,’’ he said.

Koroma said the solar boreholes and FAO’s larger investment in irrigation and water management was aimed at assisting the Federal Government achieve her development goals.

The representative said the initiative was implemented in the framework of the agreement between FAO and Eni/NNPC 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 – Public Private Partnerships for the Goals.

“In the northeast, the availability of safe drinking water and water for agriculture is central to growth and recovery programme.

“This will boost access to water for domestic consumption as well as small-scale agricultural activities like micro-gardening,” he said.

Alberto Piatti, Eni’s Executive Vice President for Responsible and Sustainable Enterprise, described access to water as a prerequisite for life.

He said with the inauguration by the scheme would boost access to clean water, thus impacting overall living conditions in the communities and contributing to the stabilisation of the area.

“The water schemes are solar-powered, provided with back-up power system to ensure availability and sustainability.

“Those dedicated to drinking are equipped with a reverse-osmosis plant to treat as well as purify the water,’’ he said.

Piatti added that as part of the initiative, the relevant local authorities were also involved to provide support in training and sensitising the communities to water management and practices for long-term sustainability.

In 2018, FAO and Eni/NNPC established water schemes in Chibok, Biu, Damboa and Gwoza Local Government Areas, all in Borno.

The first of the five wells provided for the IDPs and host communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was inaugurated in November 2018.

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.