By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West Nigeria – Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Barrister Bello Muhammad Goronyo, has said the National Water Resources Institute, (NWRI), Mando in Kaduna has what it takes to become a world class university.
He asserted this during his familiarization tour of the Institute in Mando, Kaduna on Tuesday, October 24.
Goronyo, after touring the Institute, said in line with the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu, is desperate to see this agenda executed. “Already, we have started discussion with the DG and other stakeholders, to see how to revitalize and elevate NWRI to the status of a degree awarding Institution where more graduates are trained who would go out there to the river basins and add value particularly in the area of irrigation,” he said.
The minister said that President Tinubu’s 8-point agenda has food security as it’s first part, and this can’t be actualized without having irrigable land; adding that with the number of River Basins in Nigeria, about 12 basins are enough to feed this country and even for exports, and NWRI has the capacity to give enough manpower needed for the entire country and beyond.
He explained that his visit is aimed at assessing the on-going projects, programmes, and challenges within the Institute and emphasized the Federal Government’s vision to strengthen the operation of the Institute by enhancing it’s capacity and securing increased funding to fulfill it’s mandate under President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
“This tour is undertaken with the aim to familiarize ourselves on what’s actually on ground so as to prepare for the task ahead,” he added.
According to him, this will go a long way because this is not only about food security, but looking at other agenda like unemployment, youth and women inclusion, hence after upgrading NWRI to a degree awarding Institution, lots of things will follow.
He posited that the NWRI has the ability and capacity to train, and retrain manpower in the country and across the continent as established in 1979, many decades ago.
“By today the NWRI should be a standard university because it has all what it takes to be a world class university, with its array of professors and doctors and members of staff who are committed, providing the deserved teaching and learning environment. The NWRI is the only water institute in the country providing the manpower needed in the area of hydro technology – irrigation, dams, river basins and other courses, hence it has to go beyond this to become a university.
“With engagement of stakeholders NWRI can rebound to a world class Institute and of course with upgrade to a degree awarding Institution will cover lots of areas, fields of study. This will prevent our students seeking knowledge outside.”
He further explained that the mandate of the Ministry is to provide sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the socio-economic needs of all Nigerians through efficient water resources management for basic human needs, irrigated agriculture, hydro power generation, national food security, promoting healthy population, while maintaining the integrity of fresh water and eco-system of the nation.
Other mandate he said includes; policy formulation and implementation of water resources programmes and strategies to move the sector forward.
Barr Goronyo, commended management of the Institute for their dedication and remarkable productivity in building capacity of personnel in water sector, irrigation, and flood control in achieving the sustainable water supply and nation food security goals under the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
He therefore called on the general public, the managing directors of river basins to ensure they utilize the Institute by opening a budget line in their budgets so that they continue sending their staff to NWRI for retraining and capacity building. “They do not need to go anywhere, the Institute need to be adequately utilized whatever you want to get from any other place, you can get it here,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of employment and funding of the Institute, Barr. Goronyo, assured the Management of NWRI to vigorously pursue this issues, particularly when the budget is yet to be submitted, to ensure the Institute realizes it’s mandate.
Earlier, in his remarks, the Director General of NWRI, Professor Emmanuel Adanu, informed the minister that the Institute is plagued with challenges particularly in the area of employment and funding.
According to him, under the employment need of the Institute, more female staff are required especially in the Laboratory department because of the vital projects, and services carried out in the Institute like agriculture which required more female staff.