Rivers Day: Lower Niger River Basin Authority Cleans Kwara River, Plants Trees



By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal

Ilorin –  The Lower Niger River Basin Authority (LNRBA) on Monday in Ilorin emphasized the protection of rivers in Nigeria, as they promote cleaning and planting of trees at the Oja-Iya River.

The theme of the 2023 World Rivers Day is entitled: “The Incredible Natural Cultural and Re-creational Values of Rivers and Streams in our Communities”.

Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, Dr Adeniyi Aremu, the Managing Director, LNRBDA, admonished Nigerians to cultivate the habit of maintaining clean water bodies saying doing so is tantamount to clean behaviours.

According to him, the day is commemorated in recognition of the incredible natural, cultural and recreational values of rivers and streams, as well as the extent to which they add to the quality of life.

“The celebration is intended to draw attention to Nigeria’s rivers that are in degraded states and facing increasing pressures associated with pollution, industrial development, urbanisation and climate change mostly due to human activities,” he said.

Aremu warned that untreatable emerging pollutant from polluted rivers and water bodies goes back to the community for consumption thereby raising global concerns on increasing public health effects attributed to water pollution.

He appealed to people to stop all negative activities that constitute barriers to water flow in the river and encourage regular cleaning of our drainage and desilting of our river channel.

According to him, one of the reasons for choosing the Oja-Iya River is that it is one of the main tributaries to the Asa River, which is the main source of water for the Ilorin metropolis.

The LNRBA boss emphasised the need to bring the attention of the public to the effect of pollutants that are dumped into the river and are eventually consumed by the community.

He pointed out the harmful practice of open defecation and its catastrophic effect on human health due to the increase in waterborne diseases and other problems associated with ingesting and exposure to human waste.

Also speaking, Hon. Sheu Ahmed, the Kwara Commissioner for Environment and Tourism, who quoted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said that some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans and rivers.

He stated that studies have also shown that by the year 2050, the number of plastic waste in rivers will be more than the number of fish and other marine animals.

The commissioner lamented that the rate of progress to meet the target of SDGs in 2030 is too slow while calling on concerted efforts to achieve the target.

Also speaking, Chief Isiaka Awokegba, the Magaji of Oja-Iya community commended the Authority for the sensitisation of the community on the importance of Rivers and the need to protect them.

He appealed to the government for the provision of proper refuse disposal across the community, to prevent people from dumping refuse in the rivers.

Awokegba observed that wastewater from the gutters runs into the river which causes more pollution while appealing for the construction of gutters for the use of the

community. (NAN)



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