By James Eze (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The dream of eradicating water-borne diseases and instilling a culture of sanitation and hygiene in Anambra State is coming close to realization with the commissioning of 27 solar-powered borehole projects that would provide access water to people in Aguata and Anambra East Local Government Areas of the state.
Also commissioned are sanitation facilities including flush toilets, urinals and hand-washing facilities located in primary schools in Ifite-Aguluezechukwu, Eziagulu-Ekwulobia, Obeagu Ezionye-Ezinifite, Ihuowerre_Igbukwu and Agbako-Awarasi Uga in Aguata Local Government and Agbudani-Nando and Isinyi Nando in Anambra East Council Area respectively.
The water projects which were executed in a counterpart arrangement between the Government of Anambra State and the European Union and UNICEF are located in 27 villages in the two local government areas including Okwuchi Ezeada Ezinifite, Eziagulu-Ekwulobia, Umuchiama-Ekwulobia, Ifite-Aguluezechukwu, Enugwu-Aguluezechukwu, Okpo-Ekwulobia, Ihuokpala-Ekwulobia, Amaka Enuamafite-Ezinifite, Obeagu Ezionye-Ezinifite, Umume Umudege-Igboukwu, Ihuowele-Igboukwu, Obiokpala Ozalla-Isuofia, Ezioka-Isuofia, Agbako Awarasi-Uga and Ezihe Umueze-Uga all in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
Others include Umugama Eziagulu- Aguleri, Umuanaevili Eziagulu-Aguleri, Obinuno Umuano-Nando, Isinyi-Nando, Iruozobia-Umueri, Umuanwuna Ifite-Aguleri, Ugeme-Umeri, Umuanaezunu Eziagulu-Aguleri, Egbeagu Eziagulu-Aguleri, Obinetiti-Umueri, Owololie Ifite-Aguleri and Umungalagu Ifite-Aguleri all in Anambra East Local Government Area.
Commissioning the projects in Okpo-Ekwulobia and Isinyi-Nando, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano explained that with an estimated population of 300,000 people, there is an urgent need for more access to clean drinking water in Aguata Local Government Area.
Said he, “with 15 boreholes in Aguata, Aguata we have only succeeded in providing one borehole to about 20,000 people. But we are drilling another 15 in Aguata which will reduce the ratio to one borehole to 10,000 people and we are going to achieve this before the year runs out.”
Governor Obiano also revealed that in partnership with UNICEF and the European Union, his administration had embarked on the construction of toilets and sanitation facilities in the state. “We are also providing toilets in schools. We have done three. The World Bank is working towards ensuring that by late next year, defecating in the open would have become a thing of the past because it is a source of all kinds of illnesses that are prevalent in these parts,” Governor Obiano further explained.
The governor commended the donor agencies who are partnering the state on the borehole project and other development initiatives across the state describing them as “ambassadors of hope,” to Ndi Anambra.
Earlier in a Goodwill Message, the Chief of Field Office in UNICEF, Mr. Charles Nzuki had explained that the 27 solar-powered boreholes in 27 communities would provide access to safe drinking water to 67,500 people while 2,400 pupils and their teachers would get access to decent and hygienic toilets, hand washing and urinal facilities in twelve schools in Aguata and Anambra East LGAs.
Speaking further, Mr. Nzuki who was represented by Mr. Saaondo Anom, a Wash Specialist in UNICEF commended Governor Obiano for demonstrating a great deal of sensitivity to the needs of the people by paying the counterpart fund at the appropriate time.
“I want to place it on record here that Anambra is the only state in the whole of South East and South South that is enjoying these largesse from EU/UNICEF because they paid their counterpart fund as required by Water Supply and Sanitation Reform Programme,” Mr. Nzuki explained further pointing out that due to its clear demonstration of good faith in the partnership agreement, Anambra was in line to benefit from the second phase of the project in which 30 solar-powered boreholes and 12 Integrated Toilets for schools were awarded and would be concluded in march this year.
Also speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Public Utilities, Hon. Obi Nwankwo observed that the programme is a co-funded initiative in which the European Union and UNICEF funded projects up to the tune of 70% while the Anambra State Government provided the balance of 30%.
Noting that since the inception of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme in Anambra State in 2006, the Aguata and Nando projects were the first to be commissioned by the governor of the state, Hon Nwankwo praised Governor Obiano for commissioning projects when other states are sacking workers.