The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) recently unveiled a new water project in Akparabong Community, Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The project, which is in line with the government’s efforts at bringing succour to rural communities across Nigeria, is expected to avail residents of Akparabong steady access to potable water and boost agricultural produce processing in the area.
The water facility, which includes a 17,500 water-storage capacity tank, solar panels, a solar submersible pump, water management kiosk, improved sewage management, among others, was hinged on the constructive dialogue with various stakeholders in the community.
General Manager, BATNF, Abimbola Okoya, who represented the Chairman of the Foundation, Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, said the gesture was in furtherance of the Foundation’s commitment to improving the quality of lives in rural communities through the provision of potable water.
The Akparabong water project donated to the community was the third solar-powered water facility to be donated to communities in the South-south geo-political zone of the country and the first in Cross River State, THISDAY learnt.
“I am confident that with the provision of this water project, the challenge of inadequate supply of safe-drinking water that was confronting residents in Akparabong community and indeed other adjourning communities will become a thing of the past,” stated Okoya.
“Access to potable water should not be a luxury, especially for smallholder farmers in rural communities who require clean water for both domestic usage and processing of agricultural produce. More importantly, we expect that the income of our farmers will increase with this development as women will have more time for other activities due to reduction in the time spent in search of clean water”, she added.
While charging residents on the sustainability of the water project, Okoya enjoined the residents, through its town council, to take ownership by ensuring that the facility is put to good use in a sustainable manner.
Receiving the water project, Hon. Lawrence Takor, on behalf of the community, commended BATN Foundation for supporting the community to engender socio-economic growth through the provision of potable water. He said the initiative would undoubtedly complement efforts made by the government in enhancing the well-being of people in rural communities.
He said: “We express our sincere appreciation to BATNF for the provision of safe drinking water to over 100,000 members of the agrarian communities. We, therefore, assure the Foundation of periodic monitoring visits to the community, so as to ensure that the facility is fully optimised.”
The ceremony was well-attended by residents of the community including leaders from the Igbo, Obudu and Akwa-Ibom people living in Akparabong.
Adequate provision of quality water is one of the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which formed part of the Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by more than 190 heads of government at the landmark 70th United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA), which took place in New York, USA in September 2015.
The SDGs came into existence on December 31, 2015 and the new deadline date for realisation of the 169 targets and indicators contained therein is in 2030.