By Tosin Kolade, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
In the heart of Ogun, communities like Lisa, Latoro, Mayungbo, Ijagun, Gbadamo, Ewu Ode, and Ewu Oloja in Sagamu Local Government Area face a daily struggle for potable water.
Women in Latoro carry empty jerry cans and buckets to distant wells; while in Mayungbo, children gather around a village pump at sunset, hoping for a sip.
In spite of these challenges, resilience prevails as villagers support one another through the water scarcity peril.
Community elders share memories of when water flowed freely, inspiring hope for a better tomorrow.
Yet, these communities stand at the crossroads of progress and retrogression.
As NGOs and local initiatives strive to bring sustainable solutions, the residents of Latoro and Mayungbo yearn for a future where every child will simply turn on a tap for and their water needs are met.
According to Amos Adigun, a community member, many people relied on water from different sources, usually not hygienic.
“For some of us, we walk long distances to fetch from rivers and streams; we do not have options, because we must use water”, he told News Agency of Nigeria.
The lack of potable water, a pervasive issue, becomes a catalyst for unity, inspiring the affected communities to script a narrative of change, perhaps one drop at a time.
Their stories echo beyond the landscapes of Ogun to many parts of the country.
They are reminders that the pursuit of clean water is not just a necessity; but a collective journey towards a brighter, inclusive and healthier future.
These challenges were addressed when the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation unveiled the Sagamu Water-Health Centre in Ogun State on May 26, 2023, in a stride towards achieving nationwide water accessibility.
The transformative project was initiated under the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) phase II implementation programme.
This initiative, part of a nationwide effort, signifies the government’s commitment to providing clean water in rural areas.
The Sagamu Water Supply Project, known as “Sustainable Drinking Water Solutions,” serves the daily needs of 20,000 people, marking a critical infrastructure milestone and a beacon of hope for Ogun communities.
The PEWASH initiative launched 15 years ago has led to the construction of 3,321 facilities, serving an estimated population of about 5,262,189 people across 19 states of the federation.
Mrs Jummai Wakaso, PEWASH National Coordinator, said the Water-Health Centres are strategically located in five local government areas, including Shagamu.
According to her, these centers operate in collaboration with local communities under the innovative waterprenuer scheme.
Wakaso gave details of the project to involve borehole construction, purification systems installation, dispensing points, pre-treatment units, multimedia, activated carbon filters, and reverse osmosis.
The Water-Health Centres go beyond being water sources; they aim to be community hubs for health and well-being.
The Sagamu Water-Health Centre not only symbolises the government’s commitment, but also stands as a beacon of hope for a healthier, sustainable future.
It reminds everyone that the pursuit of clean water is a collective journey, echoing across Ogun and beyond, promising a brighter, hydrated future for communities.
The Federal Government had urged its contractors implementing the PEWASH programme to adhere to standards and specifications for the benefit of the rural populace.
Dr Nicholas Madu, Director, Water Supply and Support Services, Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, said the federal government would not tolerate sharp practices and shoddy projects.
According to him, the programme is an opportunity to improve access to potable water supply for rural communities.
According to UNICEF Chief of WASH, Dr Jane Bevan, ensuring access to clean water isn’t just a necessity—it’s a lifeline for children and vulnerable families, shaping their well-being and future.
She said the journey to better access to water and sanitation conditions becomes a vital narrative for positive change.
The National Coordinator of Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), Mr Attah Benson, urged the federal government to prioritise Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programmes to address water and environment-borne diseases.
Expressing concern over the nation’s WASH situation, Benson emphasised the urgency of addressing open defecation.
He called for collaboration between the Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management and other stakeholders to raise awareness and mitigate the problem.
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, recently expressed commitment to implement President Bola Tinubu administration’s blueprint for the water and sanitation sector.
Emphasising the pivotal role this sector plays in societal well-being, Utsev highlighted the need for improvement in alignment with sustainable development goals.
Utsev outlined Tinubu’s plans to address poverty and inequality within the sector through a shared value approach.
This approach, he said, would contribute significantly to the overall development goals of the administration.
Alhaji Bello Goronyo, the Minister of State in the ministry, echoed the enthusiasm, acknowledging the indispensable role of water in sustaining life, productivity, and well-being.
Recognising water as a fundamental element that impacts various aspects of human life, Goronyo emphasised its importance in driving rapid development.
He affirmed a collaborative effort between him and Utsev, aimed at pooling their wealth of experience to accelerate the development of the water and sanitation sector.
As Nigeria charts its course towards enhanced water and sanitation facilities, the collaboration among all stakeholders stands as a beacon of hope for improved living conditions.
Experts say it is also a step closer to achieving broader sustainable developmental targets. (NANFeatures)
**If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria.