Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Residents of Abia State capital, Umuahia and the commercial city of Aba have been assured that they would soon start enjoying public water supply once again.
The message of hope was given by the new Commissioner for Public Utilities and Water Resources, Hon. Chidiebere Nwoke while addressing staffs of the ministry and parastals after assuming office, saying that he has come to make things work.
Public taps went dry the two cities about 10 years ago pushing residents to depend on commercial water borehole operators for their domestic water needs while the price of sachet water has doubled in the past few years.
But the new commissioner said that there was no justifiable reason why public taps should remain dry this long, noting that water and light are the basic necessities that government must provide to its citizens.
â€œPublic water supply will be restored in Umuahia. It is one of things I will pursue during my tenure,â€ Nwoke assured, adding that water was going to be an election issue come 2019 hence the need for government to do the needful.
Abia is already negotiating with the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for assistance in supplying water to residents of Umuahia, Aba and other parts of Godâ€™s Own State.
The new commissioner said that he would follow up on the negotiations with the donor agencies. He stated that supply of water and electricity was central to the realisation of five pillars on which the development programmes of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu revolves. The pillars are trade and investment, small and medium enterprises (SME), oil and gas, education, and agriculture.
â€œThis means that the governor has in mind the full development of the state,â€ he said, adding that the Ministry of Public Utilities and Water Resources occupies a strategic position in meeting Governor Ikpeazuâ€™s goal of developing Abia.
Nwoke who was a member of the Abia State House of Assembly for 12 years and variously served as deputy Speaker and leader, further stated that aside from restoring water supply he would ensure that street lights are also restored.
He urged the staff to be alive to their duties and eschew lateness, truancy and remain loyal to the present administration, adding that their welfare would be paramount in his scale of priorities.
Earlier the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Joyce Uchendu, handed over the reins to the commissioner after running the ministry for the six months it took the governor to reconstitute his cabinet.
She also presented a Holy Bible to Hon. Nwoke on behalf of the staff of the ministry and its parastatals, advising the commissioner to use the word of God as his guide in discharging his duties.
The permanent secretary assured him of the readiness of the staff to work with the new commissioner with team spirit, unbridled loyalty to achieve his goals for the government and the people of Abia.