George Okoh in Makurdi
Twelve states have started reaping various benefits from the Federal Government intervention in providing potable drinking water to various communities in different states in Nigeria.
Some lucky communities in Benue State, including Wurukum, NKST, Gaadi, Ogenge, Otese market in Gboko and Nyom were in jubilant mood recently as the Federal Government unveiled six water projects, with a call to the beneficiaries to protect the water projects that had been in use for the past one year.
A director in the federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Idowu Adeniji, said the projects were World Bank-sponsored under the SDGs projects assistance, stressing that twelve states including Benue are benefiting from the programme.
The service provider, Dr. Michael Ale said the beneficiary communities did not lobby for the project but disclosed that they were able to get the water project by divine arrangement, and called on the host communities to guide, maintain and protect the project.
He explained that each of the water projects has a capacity for 45,000 cubic metres, adding that it is powered by solar energy panel and emphasised on the need for attitudinal change by host communities to maintain the projects.
Ale further advocated various incentives for communities that adequately maintain and protect the projects against vandals, just as he stated that all the projects were adequately safeguarded.
In his speech, a consultant with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources Dr. Festus Akinduni, called for the sustenance and duplication of the project by the State government, and stressed the need for the federal government to appropriate more funds for construction of such projects to address the water needs of the people.
Benue State Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment Mr. Nick Wende, who appreciated the federal government efforts, noted that the project would impact positively on the lives of the people.
While pledging state government support to the project, Wende assured listeners that the state would partner the federal government to establish more of such projects in the State.
Adequate water provision has been a major development issue in Nigeria, with various organisations like WaterAid Nigeria and others urging government and other concerned stakeholders to ensure adequate supply of potable water to millions of Nigerians who are yet to gain access to the precious commodity.
Water provision is also one of the new 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted at the landmark 70th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) which took place in New York, USA, in September 2015.
Beyond mere corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, private sector players have also been urged to play greater roles as being already demonstrated by major private sector and non-governmental organisations like Guinness Nigeria Plc, Dangote Foundation, ActionAid Nigeria, and the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), among others.