* To make Ekiti open defecation free
By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Thursday promised to take legal and institutional steps to make the state open defecation free before 2030.
In a bid to reduce the level of water borne diseases in Ekiti, Fayemi also declared emergency in the water sector, saying the people must be saved from preventable Illnesses through the provision of potable water.
He said the emergency was in line with the step taken by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had initiated similar policy under a programme called Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in partnership with the World Bank.
Fayemi spoke in Ikun Ekiti, Moba Local government on Thursday while kicking off the turnaround maintenance of Ero Dam and the rehabilitation of the main transmission pipelines from Ifaki Ekiti to Adopt Ekiti, the state capital.
The project, which will gulp $55 million was awarded to Sagittarius Henan Engineering and is to be completed within 18 months.
He said the WASH programme of the federal government and World Bank was initiated to reduce the amount being paid by Nigerians on hospital bills after contracting all forms of diseases from unhygienic water sources.
Fayemi said statistics had shown that water supply to urban cities and rural areas in the country have reduced by 15 and 4 per cent respectively, in spite of the geometric increase in the population.
The governor added that the state had paid a staggering sum of N700 million counterpart fund to complete the project that was approved by the World Bank in 2014.
“It was because of the safety of the citizens that the federal government declared emergency in WASH. So, Ekiti has keyed into the programme with this project.
“Ekiti was ranked second in Nigeria as state that practise open defecation. We shall put up institutional and legal frameworks to ensure Ekiti is open defecation free before 2030.
“Part of what accounted for this high practice was because of low water supply to our homes.
“We are making our traditional rulers as champions that would canvass for open defecation free and if we are going to stop our palaces from digging boreholes here and there, we as government should provide water to our people.
“We have done our feasibility studies. 85 per cent of our water in Ekiti shall be provided by Ero and Egbe dams if they operate at optimal capacity,” he said.
The governor assured the people that affordable tariff will be charged by government and that such will be metered to prevent extortion.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Utilities, Mr Olumide Ajayi, said the rehabilitation on Egbe dam located in Gbonyin Local Government was being co-financed by European Union and Ekiti State.
Ajayi said the two projects will supply water to over 66 towns across nine local governments in the state.
He urged the beneficiaries to be ready to pay affordable tariffs and maintain the facilities when completed.
The General manager, Ekiti State Water Corporation, Mr Olabisi Agbeyo, revealed that this is the first time major rehabilitation will be carried out on Ero dam in 33 years.
“As we speak, Ekiti is not owing a kobo as counterpart payment. We have paid up and this shows how committed the state was in water supply,” Agbeyo said.