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Fayemi takes giant strides to tackle water problem in Ekiti

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The Ekiti State Government is taking giant strides to put an end to the problem of acute shortage of potable water supply across the state.

Although, previous administrations in the state had given attention to the problem, but Gov. Kayode Fayemi is tackling the issue more doggedly.

Within one year in office, there appears to be light at the end of the dark tunnel as all old water projects are being rehabilitated across the state.

Fayemi, on assumption of office in 2018, directed that the water corporation should revert to the former way of producing and distributing water directly to the people, although with some reforms and more funding.

The governor approved funds for the corporation to procure the necessary inputs to produce clean and potable water to the people.

The state government recently flagged-off a $56 million Ero Dam turnaround project to meet 85 per cent of water needs of the people.

Fayemi said at the ceremony that the state had declared a state of emergency in the water sector in the state by the flag-off of the project.

The project is being handled by Sagittarius Henan Engineering. The five-year project is to be completed by June 2020.

Fayemi said that the project, sited in Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government area of the state, would involve rehabilitation of main transmission pipelines of Ero Dam from Ifaki Ekiti to Ado-Ekiti.

The Ekiti State House of Assembly, had during the first tenure of Fayemi as governor of Ekiti, given the required legal requirements for the take-off of the project in the state in 22 quarters in and around Ado-Ekiti where the project will cover.

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The areas include Ekute, Onigari GRA, Fajuyi Adebayo and Pathfinder, all in Ado-Ekiti and Iworoko-Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government area of the state where the state university is sited.

Projects in these areas have reached advance stages, while payments to project affected persons numbering over 470 have been made to the tune of N11.8 million.

The second batch of payments have been made to those in Nova, Olorunda, Olorunsogo, Basiri, Peace Avenue, Irewumi, Ajowa, Adebayo, Ifedore, Ifelere, Ilamoji and Moboluwaduro to the tune of N18.3 million.

Mrs Nancy Taiwo, the Communication Specialist on the project, said it was the avowed commitment of Fayemi’s administration to make life meaningful for the citizens.

She pleaded for the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of the project.

Taiwo said that two types of pipes were being used in laying and extending water from Ero dam to Ado-Ekiti.

The first being transmission pipes from the dam to the state capital covering 21.6km, while the distribution and networking extension within Ado-Ekiti metropolis is 286.654km.

Fayemi said that the state of emergency declared in the water sector in the state was in line with the step taken by President Muhammadu Buhari who initiated similar policy under a programme called Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in partnership with the World Bank.

He said the WASH programme of the Federal Government and World Bank was initiated to reduce the amounts being paid by Nigerians on hospital bills after contacting all forms of diseases from unhygienic water sources.

Fayemi said statistics had shown that water supply to urban cities and rural areas in the country had reduced by 15 and four per cent, respectively in spite of geometric increase in the population.

He said that the project would, among other things, reduce the level of water- borne diseases in Ekiti.

The governor said that the state had paid a staggering sum of N700 million counterpart fund to complete the project that was approved by the World Bank in 2014.

“It was because of the safety of the citizens that the Federal Government declared emergency in WASH.

“So, Ekiti has keyed into the programme with this project. Ekiti was ranked second in Nigeria as state that practise open defecation. We shall put up institutional and legal frameworks to ensure Ekiti is open defecation-free before 2030,” he said.

Fayemi said that part of what accounted for this practise was because of poor water supply to homes.

“We are making our traditional rulers as champions that would canvass for open defecation-free and if we are going to stop our palaces from digging boreholes here and there, we as government should provide water to our people.

“We have done our feasibility studies, 85 per cent of our water in Ekiti shall be provided by Ero and Egbe dams if they operate at optimal capacity,” he said.

The governor assured that affordable tariffs would be charged by government and such will be metered to prevent extortion.

Mr Olumide Ajayi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Utilities, said the rehabilitation on Egbe Dam, located in Gbonyin Local Government area, was being co-financed by European Union and Ekiti State.

On completion, Egbe Dam will supply water to over 66 towns across nine local government in the state.

Ajayi urged would-be beneficiaries to be ready to pay affordable tariffs and maintain the facilitiess.

Mr Olabisi Agbeyo, the General Manager of Ekiti State Water Corporation, said that this was the first time major rehabilitation would be carried out on Ero Dam in 33 years.

In the past, hopes had been dashed. What some administrations listed as achievements were disputed by the people who continued to depend on streams, wells and individual boreholes.

In Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti capital, a good percentage of the populace still do not have access to potable water.

The situation was compounded when the last administration entered into concession agreement with some firms to produce water from the existing dams for sale to Ekiti State Water Corporation.

The state government has laid more pipes under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve water distribution in the state capital, while new water schemes have been installed in several communities including Ogotun, Ipole Iloro, Erinjiyan, Okemesi and Ido-Ile.

The Fayemi administration has also completed European Union (EU) assisted water projects in Orin, Ipao, Erio and Ipole-Iloro, in addition to the recently donated water plant in Ise-Ekiti by Guinness Nigeria which has been completed and inaugurated.

As part of its policy of ensuring free flow of clean water to the people with the existing system, the state government has repaired 55 faulty hand pumps in Ekiti East, Efon, Ekiti West, Ise/Orun and Emure Councils.

The current administration is also in the process of awarding contracts for the total overhaul of Ado Water Works, while it has also commenced the process of award of last year’s MDGs project that will connect all the existing fetching points installed by the immediate past administration.

Fayemi said that his objective is to provide potable water to at least 85 per cent of residents in the state.

He will be a man of accomplishments if he achieves this target before the expiration of his term.

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