By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
The people of Ayede Ogbese in Akure North Local government area of Ondo State had suffered for years in having access to drinkable water. They had cried, the resonate sound was not heard until last Tuesday when the present government came to the community’s rescue.
At the occasion, it was carnival like as the people of the community in their thousands came out with flutes and drums to welcome the official commissioning of Kamoni Aketi Accelerated Water Scheme.
The scheme which is aimed at providing safe water supply to over 3,000 communities in the state is an innovation and sustainable plan for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). This will optimally utilize underground water unlike the motorised and hand pump boreholes that serve a lesser population.
The water scheme has the capacity to provide 100,000 litres of potable water with 160 fetching points for the people of Ayede Ogbese .
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, lauded the state government for the scheme, saying that the consequences of lack of access to water and sanitation included economic losses, high prevalence of water -related diseases, reduced school enrolment and attendance, loss of dignity, increased risk of insecurity and violence against women and children.
“Water is life and has no substitute. However, our country today still have significant challenge of access to adequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene (Wash).
“Recent statistics from the WASH-NORM (National Outcome Routine Mapping) survey indicate that about 67.9 percent of our populations have access to improved water supply from all sources while 41.5 percent have access to basic sanitation facilities.
“Furthermore, about 25 percent of our population practise open defecation and this makes our country number two rank amongst all nations still practising open defecation in the world,” he said.
The Minister further assured of the resolve to mobilise resources from the Federal Government, beginning with the 2019 budget and from the development partners, in support of the programme.
“We will also promote the programme delivery modality to other states to give the necessary prominence that Ondo State deserves on Rural Water Supply.
“I will like to encourage the state government to please include provision of sanitation facilities in the public places in the programme so as to make Ondo State Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025 which is the target year for ODF in our country,” he said.
Earlier, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), said government must be responsible and responsive to the needs of the people.
“We have been able to do that. We met water supply at four percent. It is not something any government can stand, but with all these boreholes rehabilitated, it has really improved,” he said.
He further said Ondo State laws on open defecation would be improved to end open defecation, and urged everyone to have toilets in their homes.
“Our Minister has challenged us to take seriously the issue of public toilets, so that open defecation will end, and all these water borne diseases will be a thing of the past,” he said.
Governor Akeredolu also urged the people of Ogbese to utilise the water scheme properly, and warned them not to pay money as toll for water in the area.
“Those paying for water are those that want the water in their homes and taps,” he said.
He, however, used the occasion to solicit Federal Government’s assistance in line with the 2019 programme and project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in the areas of water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
Also, Chairman of Ondo State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mrs Yetunde Adeyanju said the scheme is designed to have 5 kilometre reticulation and distribution network with a storage tank of 50 millimeter capacity that would discharge at full capacity twice a day with 100 public stand pipes, 200 fetching points while one fetching point will serve 50 people.
“The scheme is powered with solar energy and two deep boreholes and the sanitation component is to achieve 100 percent open defecation free, three months after provision of safe water access in an aggressive approach in the benefited community.
“The scheme is a rapid response by the state government in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ”, she said.
She, however, explained that the intervention in Ogbese was necessitated by the fact that Ayede-Ogbese has nine hand pump boreholes and two solar powered boreholes of which none was functioning, a situation that made it very difficult for the community to have access to improved water source.
“Consequently, through the rehabilitation exercise, all the hands pump boreholes were revived but the volume of water discharged from them was very low to an extent that the community had resulted to Ogbese river as their major source of drinking water. This necessitated daily report to the governor which resulted to Ogbese and other three major critical communities facing similar water challenges, “she stressed.
The Chairman however assured that the accelerated water scheme would spread to other communities soonest.
Earlier in his welcome address on behalf of Alayede in council, the Odopetu of Ayede-Ogbese, High Chief Deji Abitogun had recalled that the community tabled its most pressing need to the government about two months ago and today over 160 water taps that would immediately serve close to 8000 persons in the community have been put in place.
“Water problems have been banished to a large extent. Villages and towns like Eleyewo, Ilu-Abo, Bolorunduro Alayere among others in the local government have benefited. Before this present administration brought succor and reprieve to our community, our people were drinking from the untreated river Ogbese. Our people were scourged with water -borne diseases such as guineaworm, cholera, typhoid, trypanasonomia, among others.
” He who gives water is the one that has given life. Mr Governor you have given us life in Ayede Ogbese. We urged that this gesture must continue all over Ondo State”,he noted
Speaking on behalf of other monarchs from the Northern Senatorial District of the state, the Akala of Ikaramu Akoko , Oba Andrew Momodu applauded the state government for making the welfare of people in the state a priority, noting that the water scheme, road and schools’ rehabilitation and various initiatives of the Akeredolu-led government are commendable.
The Gbaluwe of Igbotu, Oba Adeniyi Ajayi who also spoke on behalf of monarchs in the Southern Senatorial District, noted that the scheme was unprecedented as the impact has been felt.
“The present government is working even though he doesn not make noise, he doesn’t promise what he will not do. We will continue to acknowledge your honesty”.
In an interview with The Hope, people who attended the event described the governor as a man of action who does not play politics with the welfare of the people.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) Chairman in the state, Rev.(Dr) Ayo Oladapo affirmed that the scheme was a welcome development, adding that giving water to a larger populace is a good idea that will help in reducing water-borne- diseases in the state.
Oladapo implored the government to replicate the new scheme in the remaining communities, for people to enjoy more dividends of democracy.
“We are also pleading to the government to do routine maintenance from time to time so that none of it will break down while people should imbibed maintenance culture,” he advised.
Also, the Chief Imam of Ayede Ogbese, Alhaji Abdul-Lamidi Mohammed confirmed that it was the first of its kind in the area as they have not seen such massive supply of water like that before. In the past, government would just dig some boreholes which did not last, but with this new scheme, it will go a long way to alleviate our suffering”.
The Assistant Coordinator, Wire Women in Renewable Energy Ondo State chapter, Mrs Adenike Obakoyowa posited that the scheme was highly appreciated, saying water is life. She advised government to extend the new scheme to other communities to avert diseases associated with water.
In her words, Woman Leader of Ebira in Akure North, Mrs Funmilayo Adeleye informed that women in the area were very happy with the scheme, saying they are the ones who suffered most in the past as they trecked a long distance to get water which is not even clean.
“We have suffered for long before the intervention, it gladdens our hearts that this is happening during our own time, the present government also restored our light, we will forever be grateful to the present administration in the state “.
The colourful event was well attended by traditional rulers, religious leaders, market women, students and other stakeholders in the state.
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