From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
WaterAid Nigeria is to spend $1.3 million on sustainable water Sanitation and hygiene system in Bauchi state, Permanent Secretary, Bauchi state Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA), Engineer Garba Babaji, has disclosed.
He dropped this hint at a weeklong start-up workshop on strengthening Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Delivery Systems Project (SWADS) in Abuja.
According to him, the $1.3 million project which would be implemented in Bauchi state would attract funding from Hong kong Shanghai Banking Corporation with support from WaterAid Nigeria.
He said: “the project will bring about a shift from a sentimental method of planning in the past which had negative impact on rural development”.
He explained that government was determined to promote equity, inclusiveness and ensure sustainability of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services across the nooks and crannies of Bauchi state without prejudice to any community.
“The choice of Kirfi LGA by WaterAid for the implementation of the SWAD pilot project will signal the commencement of state government’s WASH transformation initiative.”
He said three additional local governments were to attain open defecation free status before the end of the first quarter of this year in line with its determination to replicate the feat Dass Local Council achieved 2 years ago.
He further told participants at the workshop that Bauchi state government would partner donor agencies to reactivate malfunctioned WASH facilities spread across the state, emphasizing that, “through strategic plan, our urban sanitation and sewerage management would be holistically addressed in both urban and rural areas”.
He regretted that lack of synergy between Line ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) had hindered WASH goals from been achieved, but promised that henceforth the MDAs would jointly mobilize and harness resources for the attainment of SDG Goal-6.
He expressed optimism that with the technical expertise of WaterAid, Bauchi state government had already reviewed all existing legal and regulatory framework on WASH, stressing that, “this has facilitated the release of eight million naira to upgrade household toilets in the state”.
Earlier, WaterAid Country Director, Dr Catherine Aniagolu-Okoye, said with the current population increase in Bauchi state, government must strive to improve WASH infrastructure through effective partnership with donor partners stressing that, “without government’s political will there would be no sustainability as partnership is synonymous with delivery of water point to consumers”.