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February 27, 2024
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Commissioner pledges 50M litres of water for Enugu residents

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By Tosin Kolade

Dr Felix Nnamani, the Commissioner for Water Resources in Enugu, has reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to providing 50 million litres of potable water to the residents.

Nnamani gave this assurance when he received the team from the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency Working Group in Enugu.

He emphasised the state’s dedication to achieving Sustainable Development Goal six by 2025, aiming to eradicate open defecation and enhance water provision by 2030.

According to him, Enugu metropolis presently boasts improved access to potable water, with a shift from old asbestos pipes to modern ductile pipes for cleaner water delivery.

The commissioner highlighted the refurbishment efforts and the importation of pressure pumps, ensuring a departure from past practices that led to water reticulation failures.

Anticipating an additional 50 million liters of water from Oji River, Nnamani outlined the completion of pipelines and repairs to areas damaged by erosion.

He underscored the production of 120 million liters of quality water in Oji River and 9th Mile, along with the construction of a gas-to-power plant as an alternative to the national grid, ensuring a steady electricity supply.

In the WASH sector, Nnamani said the appointment of the Senior Special Assistant on WASH, had streamlined operations and ensuring the unveiling of a water sector law by the Enugu state Assembly.

The commissioner harped on the importance of bye-laws in partnership with local government chairmen to combat open defecation, with 14 out of 17 local governments already enacting such laws.

Nnamani reiterated Enugu government’s commitment to improving residents’ lives in alignment with global best practices, with a multifaceted approach addressing water supply, sanitation, and electricity challenges.

The Team Lead and the Director, in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mr Ibiyemi Olu-Daniels, said the visit was to discuss ways for the state government to prioritise access to potable water and sanitation facilities.

He said by investing in the WASH sector, cholera cases would reduce, citing an example of last year’s outbreak which should not be overlooked.

“WASH in Emergency is beyond the distribution of commodities, but in doing more in the dedication of funding support, if we invest in WASH, cholera cases will come down”.

He said there was the need for states to coordinate, take ownership of their challenges and not rely solely on development partners in emergency situations.

Nnamani said the ministry would continue to support states through advocacy and coordination, urging the states to take responsibility on cholera preparedness and response plan.

UNICEF WASH Specialist, Mr Ebri Ibor, expressed satisfaction with the establishment of the WASH in emergency working group in the state.

Ibor stressed the need to integrate WASH issues into the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to prioritise preventive measures and avoid disease outbreaks, particularly cholera.

He said the EOCs were central to emergency management and has helped in many situations, saying there was the need to prioritise WASH issues to forestall disease outbreaks.

“Whenever WASH is not given priority, the health system being to have problems with cholera outbreaks; we should have a central point to have EOC running the WASH in emergency working group so that we are able to provide appropriate support.

“Cholera is more prevalent than floods in Enugu and if that is the case, it will be very good to see commissioners of health, water resources, environment and the state epidemiologists working together, so that they can prepare each year ahead for any cholera outbreak,’’ he said.

Ms Chika Mbah, Senior Special Assistant on WASH to the Governor, shared insights from a statewide survey, revealing disparities in WASH activities among local governments.

According to her, cholera occurs in the state at the onset of rains, saying the government is working to see how to reduce out-of-pocket expenditures for the citizens so that they could feel development.

She announced a stakeholders meeting to address the gap, implement Open Defecation Free (ODF) bye-laws, and promote community-led total sanitation activities to combat cholera outbreaks.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012, when the country experienced serious devastating flood that affected 85 million people from 14 states.

The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East where IDPs exist and have responded immediately on outbreaks.

The membership cuts across WASH sector players from Institutions, Development Partners, International and Local NGOs, CSOs responding to WASH issues in the country, with UNICEF as its co-lead. (NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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