Against the backdrop of the perpetual challenge in accessing safe drinking water in most parts of the country, three states, Bauchi, Benue and Cross River, are set to benefit from a N 4.7 million Guinness water project.
Speaking in Lagos recently at the launch of this project, the Managing Director, Guinness Nigerian, Mr. Peter Ndegwe, who disclosed this, said, “water is a crucial resource to all forms of life, but unfortunately, this vital resources is not accessible to all.”
The Guinness Nigeria boss revealed that, the water project would provide safe drinking water to 35,000 Nigerians across the three selected states.
According to him, with reference to “the January 2015 World Economic Forum Report, water crises was among the fast global risks of concern for growth.”
“This conclusion is indeed justified that one in five people around the world cannot access safe drinking water,” he added.
Ndegwe, further said, “the scarcity of clean water in Nigeria has fuel the spread of diseases, so you have easily preventable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, claiming the lives of about 100,000 Nigerian children every year, as per the Water Aid statistics.”
In his welcome remarks, he stated; “Water Aid, reports that 63 million people in Nigeria can not access clean and safe water, and over 112 million Nigerians do not have access to adequate sanitation,” because water goes with sanitation.”
Guinness Nigeria, who is partnering with Concern Universal, Oxfarm and Water Aid, in this project, is set to fund N 23.5 million out of the total of N 47 million.
Country Representative, Water Aid, Dr. Michael Ojo, in his remarks pointed out; “we are working in Guame, Ninke Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi State, where the project is expected to serve about 10,300 people who has no access to water services.”
Ojo regretted that, the only functional available source of water in Guame is a hand dug well in the community’s only health center, and “this has seriously marginalized them in terms of sanitation and hygiene.”
Relatively, Country Director, Concern Universal, Mr. Tim Connel, also disclosed that the target for his team is to deliver 20 boreholes across three selected LGAs of Cross River State.
Connel noted, “in accordance to the Sustainable Development Goals, section 6.1 and 6.2, which responds to safe water provision and sanitation; lack of unsafe drinking water is lethal to under – five children because it predisposes them to diseases.”
He however, maintained, “It is very easy to put in safe water but more challenging to sustain and improve sanitation and hygiene, hence the need to prioritize sanitation and hygiene in the country.”
Also present at the launch was the Programmes Officer, Integrated Water Resource Management, Oxfarm, Mr. Eyong Sunday, who told journalists that, the mode of operation for their project community which is Tyowanye, in Buruku LGA of Benue State is to build a deep motorized solar panel and solar power borehole, with an incorporation of two blocks of VIP toilets, and a water selling pavilion.
The project, which would have a sanitation and hygiene components, is targeted at serving about 1,500 households, approximately 10, 500 people directly and indirectly, he added.
Responding to how sustainable these projects would be as compared to previous ones, the Sustainable Development Manager, Guinness Nigeria, Mr. Osita Abana explained; “we try to repair existing water projects which are malfunctioning, but for some years we have not been setting budget on maintenance for such projects, and that is why the new projects are working toward sustainability, because previous models were not sustainable.”