The Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Reng Ochekpe announced this on Tuesday 19th of November, 2013 in a meeting with a delegation led by the Minister of Agriculture in Niger Republic, Abdul Labo.
The meeting was aimed at deepening the existing cooperation on water resource management between the two countries as well as finalising the modalities and necessary agreements that would facilitate equitable utilisation of water for industrial purposes, irrigation, agriculture, energy and other uses as a result of high interdependency between the countries.
She added that the meeting would create a platform for experts from both countries to share information and data towards better ways of implementing and monitoring protocols and agreements to ensure mutual benefits.
Sarah Ochekpe further explained that Nigeria would consider the release of water to Niger for irrigation purposes as requested by the Republic of Niger, but on their part, Niger should construct big reservoirs that would contain the volume of water released from Nigeria to avoid wastages.
In his remarks at the occasion, the leader of the delegation to Nigeria, who is the Minister of Agriculture, Abdul Labo said that the purpose of their visit to Nigeria was to seek for brotherly assistance from Nigeria in the area of bulk water supply for irrigation.
According to him, granting the request from Niger Republic is like rendering assistance to a brother. He further noted that the relationship between Nigeria and Niger is not only in the areas of ambassadorial appointments or the operation of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, but a blood relationship. ‘A large population of Niger have relatives in Nigeria and Nigerian residents have relations in Niger as well. Therefore, the assistance is necessary to enable the two countries benefit from agricultural and economic activities.
Abdul Labo disclosed that Niger experiences drought every two to three years and the only way to fight drought is through irrigation. He explained that through irrigation, Niger will be afforded the opportunity of producing those cereal crops that it could not produce in the rainy season.
He urged the two countries to implement the decision that would be reached at the Technical Expert Meeting and assured that Niger would abide by the agreement to fast- track and cement the cooperation between the two countries.
The Minister of Agriculture was accompanied by the Secretary-General of the Niger-Nigeria Joint Commission, Abubakar Abduljalid Sulieman and other top government functionaries from Niger.