The Federal Government, yesterday, warned that the River Niger is in danger of drying up completely due to climate change and the dumping of industrial waste.
The Auditor General of the Federation, AGoF, Samuel Tyonongo Ukura, sounded the warning during a session with the Edo State Auditor-General and members of the Edo State Public Accounts Committee in his office in Abuja.
Despite raising the alarm, Ukura revealed that Nigeria is in the process of conducting an environmental audit of the river to determine its level of dryness while calling on the National Assembly to pass the Audit Bill into law.
River Niger has a total length of about 4100 kilometres and flows pretty as the third longest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo-Zaire rivers spreading through 10 different countries. It is estimated that about 110 million people live in the river’s basin.
Ukura explained that an investigation of the River Niger revealed that the decline of the river’s flow was mainly caused by climate change, industrial waste and problems of population growth.
Ukura noted that it is important for the government to act speedily to avoid a repeat of the negative effects of the drying up of Lake Chad.
“Within a few decades, River Niger will completely disappear. There are certain things in the preliminary investigation we discovered that is happening. People have been building dams without authorisation along the river.
“And the law establishing the River Niger Basin Commission states that before you do any serious activity along the River Niger, you have to tell other countries.”
“Also the river is being misused. There are certain activities that will cause the river to dry up, like dumping waste.
“People dump certain things like toxin waste and it destroys our aquatic system. So we will look at these things to see what can be done to stop its drying.”
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