With Cholera ravaging some communities in the country, concerned citizens insist that the need for all Nigerians to adopt the hygienic habit of hand washing with soap is now more imperative than ever.
This is because hand washing, as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions, has been globally accepted as a means of significantly reducing the burden of diseases such as diarrhoea by as much as 40 per cent.
According to the 2015 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme’s Report on Sanitation and Drinking Water, one in three persons, or 2.4 billion people, lack access to basic water and sanitation facilities globally.
The report says that no fewer than 1,000 under-five children die each day from diarrhoea caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene; compared to over 2,000 children 15 years ago.
It also notes that 50 per cent of child malnutrition cases are due to repeated diarrhoea and intestinal infections that are caused by poor sanitation and hygiene conditions or lack of safe water.
The report says that hand washing with soap is a critical determinant for achieving and maintaining good nutrition, while this healthy behaviour plays an important role in preventing micronutrient deficiencies, stunting, wasting and deaths.
Nevertheless, development experts believe that for Nigeria to meet the goal of reducing preventable deaths, particularly with regard to under-five children, pragmatic efforts must be made to ensure that everyone imbibes the culture of hand washing.
Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), UNICEF Nigeria, Mr Kannar Nadar, calls on all stakeholders to take ownership of programmes aimed at scaling up people’s access to WASH so as to reduce the number of deaths from water-borne diseases in the country.
He maintains that development partners alone cannot drive the change, insisting that they can only act as catalysts for scaling up sanitation programmes.
He stresses that Nigeria cannot achieve much in efforts to scale up sanitation projects if it fails to put measures in place to encourage all the citizens to make sanitation a priority.
“Nigeria needs to take ownership of activities aimed at scaling up the citizens’ access to WASH.
“Donors have a little work to do; the bulk of the work is for countries to take ownership of their sanitation programmes,” Nadar says.
A Sanitation Officer with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Chizoma Opara, says that regular hand washing is the first line of defence against preventable diseases like diarrhoea and infections like the Ebola Virus Disease.
“If we want to protect our children from getting sick, the first thing to do is to educate them about washing their hands properly.
“Ingraining the habit of hand washing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention,” she adds.
Opara says that a systemic change towards the hand washing culture is, therefore, critical to meeting the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goal of achieving zero deaths in under-five children.
Sharing similar sentiments, a Public Health Consultant, Dr Nneze Eze, emphasised that hand washing with soap before eating and after using the toilet should be made an ingrained habit of the people.
He says that the adoption of the hand washing habit can save more lives than any vaccine or medical intervention, adding that it can also cut deaths from diarrhoea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.
Eze says that rationale behind creation of Global Hand-washing Day (October 15) is to help sensitise the people, particularly children, to the importance of hand washing with soap and water.
“It is also important that when this is done, it encourages children to practise hand washing at home, at school and in their communities, adding that this will also influence people around them to do the same,’’ he says.
The Country Director of Concern Universal, a non-governmental organisation, Mr Tim Kellow, urges all Nigerians to wash their hands with soap at critical times, saying that the practice will reduce diarrhoea-related deaths by 30 per cent.
According to him, imbibing the hand washing culture is a more cost-effective disease-prevention strategy than treating water sources or water point-of-use.
Kellow says that his group is implementing a sanitation and hygiene project in Nigeria, which aims at empowering no fewer than two million rural people to improve their sanitation practices in a sustainable manner.
He says that this will also go a long way to safeguard the dignity of every resident of such communities.
The country director says that three local government areas in Benue and Cross River states respectively are benefitting from the project, with the sole target of ending open defecation in the country.
Kellow reiterates that hygiene is the most important intervention that can promote human development, saying that this should be encouraged by everyone in its entirety.
He says that more people have been encouraged, via the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme, to change their behavioural practices to promote sound hygiene.
Kellow says that some individuals, who are “natural leaders’’, often act as activists and enthusiasts that drive sanitation and hygiene improvements in the communities.
“They act as environmental and health officers in their communities; they go about telling people about the dangers of open defecation and others,” he says.
He, however, bemoans the fact that Nigeria is still lagging behind in efforts to achieve improved access to basic sanitation and hygiene.
He, therefore, underscores the need to stage more awareness campaigns to enable more Nigerians to be acquainted with the benefits of hygiene and sanitation, saying that this is very vital to efforts to reduce preventable deaths.
Also speaking, the Programme Manager of Concern Universal, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, underscored the role of parents in educating their children and wards about the importance of washing their hands before eating and after going to toilets.
He, nonetheless, highlights the need for private individuals and industrialists to take ownership of sanitation projects in their neighbourhoods.
He says that this will go a long way in reducing the spread of preventable diseases, while boosting healthy living and enhancing the people’s productivity.
Speaking on the theme for this year’s Global Hand-Washing Day, “Raise a Hand for Hygiene”, a water and hygiene specialist, Mrs Abigael Onaiko, said that the theme, which is aimed at eliciting people’s action, can be used for advocacy purposes.
She says that the act of raising a hand symbolises affiliation, adding that it can also be a means of identifying oneself as an advocate for good hygiene.
Onaiko says that this can facilitate the creation of strong social norms of good hygiene in schools, communities and regions.
“Besides, when people raise a hand, they can be counted. So, in terms of hand washing, this is a reminder that it is possible for governments to count the persons who wash their hands and have access to basic hygiene amenities in homes and schools, as well as health care facilities.
“Governments must measure hygiene indicators to know where resources should be concentrated.
“Global Hand-washing Day is a good opportunity to ask governments to fulfil this all-important role.
“We can also raise a hand to draw attention to the need for change; parents’ associations can raise a hand to ask for better hygiene policies in schools; while celebrities can raise a hand to ask politicians to fund hygiene programmes,” he says.
All in all, sanitation experts believe that improved sanitation, provision of adequate potable water, awareness of disease transmission patterns in communities are vital to efforts to reduce deaths from water-borne and infectious diseases in the country.
Kolade writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Wike: Emerging Champion Of South South Region
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State went to the ancient city of Benin, saw and faced the agents of a siege, and conquered the godfather. But he was also quick to give credit to all those who joined him in the battle to accomplish the sweet victory and reclaim Edo State for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and bring all the States in the Region under the protection of the Umbrella.
Speaking at the post-election victory press conference, in his capacity as the Chairman, PDP National Campaign Council for the Edo State Governorship polls, Governor Wike said: “I want to particularly thank my colleagues, the Governors of Delta State, Oyo State and all other persons who served in the National Campaign Council. We succeeded working as a team.
“Let me also thank the Governor of Edo State. He gave us the necessary support that has led to this victory. Also, we thank all those who worked in the campaign train in Edo State. We also appreciate the Media for the positive coverage of the election”.
Indeed, it is no longer in contention, that Governor Wike has transformed into an iconic political phenomenon, so much so that the ebullient Dino Melaye has already dubbed him “the National Governor”; a title which is sure to gain traction and national appeal in the coming weeks and months.
For many discerning political watchers and Nigerians, the Edo State Governorship election was, without doubt, Governor Wike’s election. From the very onset, he midwifed the peace and reconciliation process that led to admission of Governor Obaseki into the PDP family and his eventual emergence as the party’s flag bearer in the just-concluded Edo State Governorship election.
First, as a national leader who understands the dignity of the office of a duly elected Governor of every State, he chastised the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for failing to speak up and protect a fellow Governor, Godwin Obaseki, though belonging to the main opposition party.
In fact, some leaders of his own party demeaned his office, embarrassed and humiliated him, as he ran from pillar to post, seeking allies and support in his battle to retain his party’s governorship ticket for the Edo guber polls, against a godfather who wanted him out at all cost.
Then, as a true patriot and party man, whose overriding objective has always been to achieve and restore the PDP to its pride of place as the Number One Party in the country, Governor Wike, recognized the bountiful dividends of embracing Governor Obaseki into the family.
He also became the matrix and torch bearer in the reconciliation and harmonization of all conflicting and contentious interests in the resolution of the party’s guber ticket candidate. He brokered peace, addressed disputes and concerns satisfactorily and ensured that all interests were accommodated.
The overwhelming success of his intervention was displayed, when all the PDP guber aspirants not only withdrew their intentions, but admirably lined up behind Governor Obaseki on the podium, as he received his flag of nomination from the party, to contest the governorship election, as the PDP candidate.
This singular achievement left the opposition completely speechless, broke the first leg of their politically unstable table and eventually led to the ignoble sacking of their national chairman and erstwhile godfather of Edo politics.
Against the backdrop of this resounding political accomplishment, the appointment of Governor Wike as the PDP National Campaign Council Chairman for the Edo election became inevitable. The magnitude of the challenge was enormous, given the extraordinary circumstances and the lingering affiliations that still defined Governor Obaseki’s membership and emergence in the PDP.
This, coupled with the fearsome prospect of ‘Federal might’ which the opposition was poised to deploy in the election, would have cowed a lesser, lily livered man, but Governor Wike was the man for the job and embraced the challenge with open arms.
Needless to say that from the moment he was announced as the PDP National Campaign Council Chairman for the Edo State Election, a vicious campaign to discredit him, by those who knew the overwhelming influence and authority his involvement in such a critical position would have on the overall election and especially on the good people of Edo State, commenced with the aid of some gullible media outlets, who would sooner learn to their chagrin, that the Rivers State Governor was not a man to trifle with.
Governor Wike also systematically embarked on a robust, well structured media charm offensive himself, highlighted by a series of selected prime time television interviews, where he quite adeptly deployed the platform to succinctly and unequivocally set the tone and mindset that would eventually shape and determine the outcome of the Edo Guber elections.
As the chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, his appearances at the party’s state-wide rallies were usually electrifying as he galvanized the teeming crowd with his unique, charismatic, dynamic and dexterous style.
His message resonated powerfully with the people’s expectations and desires. His admonitions telling them what to do on Election Day were on point. He presented himself as an example and as a leader who will lead from the front. His presence inspired hope, enthusiasm, optimism, courage and conviction in the belief that the will of the people would always triumph over every obstacle and intimidation.
Governor Wike arrived Benin, just like the other leaders of the Opposition Campaign Council, but with his own touchdown the whole atmosphere became abuzz with excitement and a collective sense of identity, existential purpose and historical essence for the Edo people.
Members of the opposition, including those who had earlier arrived Edo for the same assignment as he, were even heard complaining loudly and bitterly that they don’t know what he is doing in the state. They were in panic.
A siege with over 300 armed policemen, complemented with armoured tank and other arsenal was hurriedly placed on his hotel accommodation premises to prevent him from stepping out; and when the Inspector General of Police called and told him to leave Edo State that his presence was likely to cause unrest amongst the people, Governor Wike’s response was classic, typical and well reported.
He then followed up his nonplussed stance with the Police IG by holding a World Press Conference at the Hi-Tech PDP Situation Room where he alerted the nation and the international community of what was going on.
He completely wrong-footed the opposition, as usual and he was always one step ahead. But the most impressive aspect of the strategy was that he appeared with both Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Chairman of the South South Governor’s Forum, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who is also chairing the Southwest PDP Campaign Council, as well as other party leaders.
It was not a one-man show but a collective effort of the party, embodied by a man and leader, who has grown to become the unifier and champion of the South South Region’s political identity.
By virtue of the progressive thinking and pragmatic sacrifices of Governor Wike, the South South Region governors can now speak loudly and without fear or intimidation, with one united voice.
The objective of bringing all the South South States under one political leadership umbrella has been achieved with this overwhelming success in Edo State.
Over the years, Governor Wike has proved his enduring mettle, as a political tactician beyond doubt. In the PDP, as well as on the political landscape, he has emerged as the referential face of the party brand, not only by virtue of his widely reported sterling developmental achievements and legacy infrastructural and other projects, but also for his robust advocacy, articulation, constructive critical observations and uncensored maturity and honesty.
He enjoys a very cordial relationship with his brother governors which has attracted tremendous goodwill to him especially in the national political space, where he has achieved an impressive pedigree and comprehensive acceptance across board.
There is a saying that all politics is local and Governor Wike is a leading disciple of the localisation of politics, which not only celebrates the adage that charity begins at home but also promotes the agenda of Rivers first, which goes a long way to explain why he is passionate about the protection of Rivers lives, property and, indeed, everything Rivers.
No wonder he was welcomed back home in Rivers State, after his exertions in Edo State, by a large, jubilant crowd of Rivers sons and daughters, who had kept vigil and prayed for him, when news filtered in that the police had laid a seige on his hotel.
Rivers people and, indeed, many who followed the Edo State Governorship elections, heaved a huge sigh of relief to see their darling Governor Wike back home, hale and hearty, to continue his good works in the state.
At a time when Nigeria is in dire need of patriotic and responsible citizens and leaders, as our political life evolves, Governor Wike stands tall as one who epitomises the true characteristics of what it takes to be a great leader for his people.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
Landmark Achievements By Mr Projects
The Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration has recorded so many landmark projects and dividends of democracy in its five years of existence. It has delivered so much dividends of democracy to its teeming admirers and the entire good people of the Rivers State. As it is generally said, one good turn deserves another and if somebody does what is good – you encourage him by giving him a pat on the back. And by showing gratitude so that the person will continue in the good work, to do more.
Governor Nyesom Wike government has scored so many first in the giant strides he has achieved so far for the state. Especially in terms of infrastructural developments across the state and its environs particularly in the areas of roads, healthcare delivery system, education, security, trade and commerce as well as tourism etc.
In the areas of roads rehabilitation and roads construction Mr. Projects stands tall especially in transforming . the already congested state headquarters, the garden city to a more modern city. The state government is simultaneously constructing about five flyovers, one at Garrison junction another at Rumuokoro intersection, yet another from first to second Artillery junction at Rumuogba and the Rumuola flyover which was a single carriage way. But is now being expanded to dual carriage way to accommodate more vehicular traffic on the PH – Aba Express Road axis also the GRA intersection flyover is ongoing.
All these is intended to ease congestion and vehicular traffic flow in the metropolis as well as causing the smooth and free movement of cars, buses, trucks and passengers / pedestrians.
Also recently, the state government rehabilitated some roads in the state and its environs. And awarded the construction of Woji – Aleto – Alesa Refinery road to help open up these communities that make up that area. As well as serve as a link road for vehicular traffic coming from the refinery through Woji to Trans – Amadi axis and back. This will go a long way in making vehicular traffic flow and movement easier in the area.
The unprecedented success scored in the area of security and peace is a major case in point. Of a truth, there is peace and harmonious coexistence in the state and its various communities. Incidences of criminality like cult clashes and killings or militancy has been reduced to its barest minimum. Crime in general including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, 419 etc. has been relegated to the background. No wonder businesses and commercial activities can thrive and projects can carryon unperturbed because of peace and security in the state.
In addition, the government deserves a pat on the back for its cordial relationship with the police and all the various security agencies in the state for working in tandem with them. Also there is mutual co-operation and understanding between the state government and security operatives to stem the tide of insecurity in the state.
Meanwhile, in the area of tourism, night life in Port Harcourt and its environs is gradually picking up, if not for the Covid 19 pandemic scourge. The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park built by this administration with various fun sport facilities and Amusement Park, including a cinema is a must for families, youths, children and a tourists destination. Especially for tourists and visitors to the garden city for the first time. This is coupled with the various shopping malls and event centres in the different parts of the city. For those who would like to shop and unwind at the various relaxation spots. In relation to that are the colourful eateries and restaurants at different parts of the city with mouth watering delicacies and cuisines, all these for their enjoying pleasure.
Moreover, in the area of trade and commerce the state government constructed an ultra – modern vegetable and fruit garden market in the city near Kaduna Street which was earlier gutted by fire. This beautiful edifice has added elegance to the skyline and landscape of the garden city. It has made shopping – buying and selling more convenient and comfortable whether it is sunny or when raining. Also it has improved the sanitation and cleanliness of the market and the environment. Likewise there has been increase in shopping malls and shopping centres in the state. More investors are being attracted to the state because of government business friendly policies.
Similarly, in the aspect of education serious rehabilitation and renovation work has been carried out on so many primary and post – primary schools in Port Harcourt city and the various local government areas. There is better funding for the Rivers State University with more projects awarded to enhance learning and the overall development of the institution. The Ignatus Ajuru University, Rumuolumeni is also being given adequate attention in terms infrastructure and staff development.
The renamed Elechi Amadi Polytechnic is witnessing phenomenal infrastructural growth in terms of physical development as well as getting most of its courses accredited by the NBTE – National Board for Technical Education. Likewise the Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori is being funded and repositioned for the challenges of the time.
Additionally, healthcare delivery system has improved in the state especially at the tertiary level with the addition of a teaching hospital to the Rivers state University Medical School. A new State of the art, five star magnificent hospital, with cutting edge technology facilities has been established. To train doctors, nurses and other health care professionals both at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels including carrying out research and development.
Also to act as a referral centre for many advanced cases of diseases and sicknesses that requires specialist attention and care not only in the state but even from outside the state.
Furthermore, in the area of primary health care and secondary health care, there has been massive improvement in facilities and equipment, including availability of drugs not only in Port Harcourt but in the various local government areas. Most of their structures have been rehabilitated and renovated to give them a face lift and to make them conducive for health care delivery.
Indeed, Mr. Projects scored many highs, in the state’s handling and management of the coronavirus pandemic. He established isolation centres and insisted that the Covid 19 protocol must be observed by persons coming into the state by land, sea or air. He placed a ban on all borders sea, land and air which is best international practice to protect Rivers State and its citizens. The government also imposed curfew on Port Harcourt and its environs by restricting movement and placing a ban on markets and other public or social gatherings. These restrictions and bans and adherence to best practices helped curtailed and reduced the rate of Covid 19 cases and its spread in the state.
In addition, Mr. Project’s humane disposition came to play with the distribution of food stuffs and other palliatives to the citizens and good people of Rivers State.
Kudos and salute to a quintessential gentleman, an administrator cum politician par excellence. A worthy and distinguished son of Rivers State and Nigeria. His Excellency, Mr Projects you are nature’s gift to the state and nation. Keep on with the good work as posterity beckons.
Ayooso, a journalist, resides in Port Harcourt.
Dry Taps Set To Flow Again In Rivers State
In continuation of its unwa vering commitment to improve the living standards of Rivers people and prepare every sector in the State to be fully ready to adapt to the millennial challenges of a fast changing global society, the Rivers State Government, on August 31st, 2020, signed contracts for the rehabilitation and upgrading of water supply for Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
It has been universally acknowledged that water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself.
It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations. Water is a finite and irreplaceable resource in time and space and it is only available if well managed.
Where water is reliably available, economic opportunities are enhanced. Where water is unreliable or of inadequate quality, or where water-related hazards are present, there will be drags on growth.
Today, due to rapid population growth, economic development and other challenges that impact the natural resources, the value of water has increased dramatically and so, this project, which is expected to receive funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), will not only upgrade 496 kilometers of pipeline which will produce 330,000 cubic metres of potable water per day, it will equally create over 1,200 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs for Rivers people.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Port Harcourt Water Corporation (PHWC), Chief Ibibia Walter, signed on behalf of the Rivers State Government, while for the consortium of the three project contractors, Chen Kangle signed for CGC Nigeria limited, Yang Gengqi for Top International Engineering Corporation and Iskandar Taslakian signed for Mothercat Limited.
The need for a project of this nature and magnitude to be undertaken at a time like this cannot be over emphasised. Indeed, one existential situation which many Rivers people have taken for granted is the fact that the Water Supply and Sanitation infrastructure in the State has been in poor and pathetic conditions for a long time, caused by years of neglect as well as decayed and limited pipe network.
The population of the State has also grown far beyond the existing old PWD initiated forty-year old network, with no new investment on the network over time and this has further been stretched by the urban centre which used to be the Old Port Harcourt Township, Diobu, and Borikiri now extended into most of Obio/Akpor LGA, thus expanding the frontiers of the capital territory.
It has been said and also true that, “The type of access, quantum of water supply and quality of sanitation services available, determines the quality of life as well as health of the people and the potential for poverty alleviation”.
In Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs, water is either privately sourced or bought from water vendors (mai-ruwa) at very exorbitant rates with doubtful quality.
Realising that there is a lot of potential to produce sufficient water in the State due to a good recharge from our aquifers, yet the current production is not sufficient to meet the demand and spread of the city, the administration of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike keyed into the Urban Water Sector Reform and Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project, to address this very heavy loss of the distribution network efficiency, poor quality of water supply and sanitation services.
The scope and benefits of this water project are quite impressive and it will also deliver the following:
(i) Ensure that the existing abundant water resources of the State are provided in a sustainable and affordable manner;
(ii) Improve the overall efficiency and strengthen the institutions to deliver services effectively whilst maintaining standards in terms of quality and quantity;
(iii) Promote the fact that water is both an economic good as it is a social good by encouraging and sensitizing customers to now pay for water to ensure the sustainability of the service for the future.
The infrastructure support components of this project aim at: fully rehabilitating and expanding the Port Harcourt water supply system and equally integrating environmental, climate change and green growth principles to ensure long-term sustainability of the infrastructure.
Overall Sanitation Facilities will also be greatly improved with the provision of comprehensive sanitation structures in markets and motor parks, including toilets/bathrooms (with separate compartments for men and women), hand washing facilities, and treatment facilities (septic tanks and biodigestors).
New facilities will also be constructed at 23 markets, rehabilitated and expanded facilities will be provided at eight major motor parks, six slaughter houses have also been earmarked to receive facelifts with new hygienic and standardized abbatoir upgrades and the peculiar nature of our waterfronts, which have presented considerable sanitation challenges over the years, will be
addressed with new and modern facilities.
The construction of a pilot sewage/solid management system at Eagle Island, will be undertaken, as part of the Sanitation and Waste Water Management Plan under Component 3, and this will be complemented with an estimated 36 km network-based waste system with a treatment capacity of 1000m3.
Hygiene and Sanitation behavioural Changes across all sectors will be brought about through public campaign carried out together with the Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board, Ministry of Education and the Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs, coordinated under an overall theme of “healthy city” or “clean and proud” or similar).
One of the most attractive and eagerly anticipated possibilities for Rivers people is the job creation capacity of this project which will open up exciting and very lucrative opportunities for Small-scale, Public Private Partnerships in the provision of public sanitation facilities.
With the uninterrupted flow of potable water, the management of the public sanitation facilities established under the project, will be outsourced to Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, as well as willing individuals in the form of management contracts, disposal and evacuation services and other similar arrangements. This will be undertaken in collaboration with the Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs (who will assume ownership of assets) and the Ministry of Women Affairs whose mandate and experience includes the promotion of women entrepreneurs.
The Port Harcourt Sanitation and Waste Water Management subcomponent will develop a comprehensive and integrated sanitation master plan, for sewage, solid wastes management and the devastating challenge of flood control and in line with the provisions of the Nigeria Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Act Cap E12 LFN 2004, the AfDB’s Integrated Safeguard System (ISS) as well as the World Bank’s Operational Policies (OP). An ESIA has already been undertaken by the State Government through the Port Harcourt Water Supply Project to update the Report disclosed in 2013 and a final Draft of the Report has been completed.
Another futuristic attraction of this project is the preparation and updating of a Resettlement Action Plan in accordance with African Development Bank Operational Safeguard (OS2) and the World Bank Operational Policy (OP 4.12). This plan has already outlined procedures that the project proponent will follow and the actions to be taken to mitigate adverse effects, compensate losses where necessary and provide developmental benefits to Persons Affected by the Project (PAP), and communities there-from.
Governor Wike, speaking during the contract signing formalities, urged the contractors to mobilise to site preparatory for the expected project flag-off on the 1st of October, 2020.
“Let me warn, in Rivers State, we do not compromise with quality of work viz-a-viz timely delivery of contracts. I shall be visiting all project sites unannounced, to monitor progress and compliance with specification.
“I am requesting the African Development Bank (AfDB) that will finance the project to do so with 100 per cent cost of net of taxes. The COVID-19 pandemic presented huge challenges, as the accruable revenues both to Federal Statutory Allocation and Internally Generated Revenue has dropped.
“The Commissioner of Water Resources and Rural Development and the Managing Director of Port Harcourt Water Corporation should engage AfDB with the view to get the Bank to finance 100 percent of the cost of the project net of taxes.
“I am aware that the loan closing date is April 2021. I am directing the commissioner and the managing director to submit application to the Federal Ministry of Finance and AfDB to extend the duration of the loan by two years to enable full implementation of all components of the urban water sector reform.
“They should further engage AfDB with a view of restoring the works at Trans-Amadi, Abuloma, Woji and Elelenwo regrettably cancelled by other Development Partners, “ he stated.
The Rivers State Governor, while assuring that he would not hesitate to fully implement the PHWC restructuring and organisational build-out report, also pointed out that his administration has opened a new phase of commitment to reposition water supply services across the state and affirmed that, through the project, thousands of Rivers people would be engaged directly and indirectly throughout the life span of the project, with the multiplier effect filtering into other communities as expansion spreads across the state.
Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Dr. Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, said the project would have four new devices reservoirs located at Rumuola, Diobu, Moscow and Borikiri in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor, adding that there would be eight elevated tanks with carrying capacity of about 1000 to 1500 cubic meters of water and about 17 boreholes in about six cluster areas connected to water treatment plants, amongst other functional and operational structures.
The Commissioner, who noted that the Rivers State Government has taken a vigorous step in addressing the challenges of providing potable water supply and sanitation in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas through the launching of the Port Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PHWSSP) in April, 2016, declared that the project which is executed with credit facility provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Development Association (World Bank) has helped to improve service delivery to over 2 million residents in these areas.
“Expectedly, the water from this project will be potable, environmentally friendly and steady when the project is completed. It will also be provided from a controlled transportation of water to the various households within the project area,” Gogo-Jaja noted.
He confidently expressed joy and gratitude that Governor Nyesom Wike, who has always believed in the popular maxim that ‘water is life’, has ensured that the project comes to fruition without any external influence on the Bidding and Procurement Process.
The Managing Director of Port Harcourt Water Corporation, Chief Ibibia Walter, said his team worked assiduously within eight months to secure the contractors trusted to execute the project and thanked Governor Wike for his commitment to ensure that rural dwellers access potable water in the State.
Speaking for CGC Nigeria limited, Chen Kangle who expressed gratitude to the Governor for the trust in his company to handle the projects, assured of timely delivery. Yang Gengqi who spoke for the Top International Engineering Corporation said they have been in Nigeria since 2017 and are confident to deliver a quality project, while for Mothercat Limited, Iskandar Taslakian, pledged to engage indigenous workers on their sites.
With the signing of the rehabilitation and upgrading of water supply project for Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor capital territory areas, Governor Nyesom Wike has once again astounded his detractors and naysayers with his astute administrative and visionary leadership acumen, by providing holistic governance which accommodates all sectors of the society and ensures that the delivery of social welfare and infrastructural dividends are not only comprehensive but have been equally designed and tailored in anticipation of the unfolding challenges and impact of globalization on an oil-rich state like Rivers State.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State.
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