By John Ndu

Awka, Dec. 18, 2020 (MOI) Anambra State Government in collaboration with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) inaugurated an inter-Ministerial Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

The collaboration also witnessed a successful inauguration of campaigns against Open Defecation.

Governor Willie Obiano at the event

Declaring the event open during a one-day workshop held in Awka, Gov. Willie Obiano emphasised that the launch of an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on WASH would strengthen the collaborative effort with UNICEF.

“This will make Anambra State an Open Defecation Free (ODF) state and as well address other crucial issues in the public health sector of the state.’’

Gov. Obiano expressed optimism that the partnership with UNICEF would give a fighting chance against ailments caused by a lack of potable water, open defecation and other poor hygiene practices.

The Governor stressed that his administration’s efforts in this regard were perfectly aligned to the Clean Nigeria Campaign by the Federal Government which was aimed at ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

“This event is coming up against the backdrop of the reported resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic across the World.

“In my thinking, the importance of this event is derived from the fact that clean and healthy habits remain humanity’s only armour against COVID-19 pandemic, until a widely accepted vaccine is made available to all.

“It is on account of this understanding that my administration has prioritised the provision of portable water to Ndi Anambra over the years.

“That was why, even with the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, my administration works very hard to ensure the inauguration of Obizi and Otuocha Water Scheme.

“The two water schemes have the capacity to supply water to not less than 21 communities in Aguata and Anambra East Local Government Areas.

“I have also approved a Public-Private Partnership management structure for the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme with PCI of South Africa to ensure that the challenge of providing portable water to the residents of Onitsha is tackled head-on.

“The company has already started mapping out the rules for the laying of pipelines across the state for effective reticulation of water to areas within each coverage area.’’

The Governor called on people of the state, especially traditional institutions, religious leaders, Age Grades and associations.

To support in this Clean Anambra Campaign and mobilise people to imbibe the culture of cleanliness and good personal hygiene.

“I wish also to announce that `Operation Clean Anambra, Use the Toilet’ is our slogan for this campaign.’’

The WASH Manager, UNICEF Enugu, Mamita Bora Thakkar said that the Federal Ministry of Health had declared a State of Emergency on WASH too and launched the Clean Nigeria Campaign to accelerate progress toward an Open Defecation Free country by 2025.

Bora Thakkar called on Gov. Obiano to consider making appropriate allocations and budgetary releases for WASH, and provide administrative support to RUWASSA to carry out operational functions to facilitate them.

Also to remain active and engaged; mandate the Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of plans to make Anambra the first state to become ODF in the country.

Commissioner for Public Utilities and Water Resources, Mr Emeka Ezenwanne listed some of the achievements of Gov. Obiano in  the WASH sector.

These include granting approval for the revitalisation of the Greater Onitsha Water Supply Scheme, using PPP model, approval of the award of facility management contract of Obizi and Otuocha Regional Water Supply scheme and approved the modeling of other big water supply schemes for concession to interested vendors. Others are approval of the provision of 150 different categories of water projects across the three senatorial districts with special reference to vulnerable communities. (MOI)

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