By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has vowed to take legal and institutional steps aimed at making the state open defecation free before year 2030.
Also determined to reduce the level of water borne diseases in the State,Fayemi however declared emergency in water sector,saying the people must be saved from preventable illnesses through provision of potable water.
He said the emergency was in line with the step taken by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had initiated similar policy under a programme called Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in partnership with the world bank.
Fayemi spoke in Ikun- Ekiti,Moba Local government on Thursday while kicking off the turn around maintenance of Ero Dam and rehabilitation of main transmission pipelines from Ifaki-Ekiti to the state capital.
The project,which will gulp $55 million was awarded to Sagittarius Henan Engineering and is to be completed within 18 months.
He said the WASH programme of the federal government and world bank was initiated to reduce amount 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 have reduced by 15 and 4 percent respectively, in spite of geometric increase in the population.
The governor added that the state had paid a staggering sum of N700m 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 practice open defecation . We shall put up institutional and legal frameworks to ensure Ekiti is open defecation free before 2030.
“Part of what accounted for this high practice was because of low water supply to our 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 percent 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 tariff will be charged by government and that such will be metred to prevent extortion.
The Permanent Secretary,Ministry of Public Utilities, Mr. Olumide Ajayi, said rehabilitation on Egbe dam located in Gbonyin local government was being co-financed by European Union and Ekiti State.
Ajayi said the two projects will supply water to over 66 towns across nine local government in the state.
He urged the beneficiaries to be ready to pay affordable tariffs and maintain the facilities when competed.
The General manager, Ekiti State water corporation, Engr. Olabisi Agbeyo, revealed that this is the first time major rehabilitation will be carried out on Ero dam in 33 years.
“As we speak, Ekiti not owing a kobo as counterpart payment we have paid up and this shows how committed the state was in water supply”, Agbeyo stated.