By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
The Bauchi State Government in collaboration with United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) have provided safe drinking water and increased hygiene to an estimated 1.7 million people in parts of the state.
UNICEF Bauchi Chief of ‘D’ Field office, Dr.Abdullahi Kaikai who disclosed this at the occasion marking the World Water Day celebration in Dass LGA of the state, said the Fund appreciated the commitment of the state government for releasing its N280 million counterpart fund for the construction of 660 hand pumps boreholes in 2016.
Represented by Dr. Danjuma Al-Mustapha, the UNICEF Chief said Bauchi as one of the beneficiaries of the DFID funded Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project has done a lot in accelerating access to sanitation and water supply in rural areas which has reduced water related diseases and improved health.
Dr. Abdullahi Kaikai explained that SHAWN project is being implemented in eight Local Governments which include; Dass, Gamawa, Warji, Toro, Shira, Bogoro, Ganjuwa and Zaki.
According to him, the project has recorded tremendous achievement as it provided 1,652 hand-pump boreholes and 34 motorized powered schemes which helped over 700,000 people and 30,000 school children in 42 schools to have access to safe drinking water and improved hygiene.
Kaikai stated that over 2,000 communities have also been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) as a result of increased access to water and sanitation.
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar had in a speech said that water and sanitation are among the sixth priority areas of their administration.
Abubakar, represented by the Deputy Governor, Engineer Nuhu Gidado recalled that the APC administration in the state had paid its counterpart funding for water supply and other projects to donor agencies.
He assured that all policies and programmes related to water supply will be fully implemented in the state, and urged people to embrace hygiene in their respective localities
General Manager of the state Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Engineer Garba Magaji has in a keynote address, assured all stakeholders on his agencies commitment to all water and sanitation projects in the state.
Magaji commended the state government and development partners like the UNICEF and DFID for their support in providing the needed assistance to various agencies in the state to carry out developmental projects.