By Lucky Isibor
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has approved the payment of N600million counterpart fund for the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme implemented in some local government areas across the state by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union (EU).
Obaseki disclosed this when he received the Chief of WASH programme, UNICEF Nigeria, Zaid Jurji during a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
According to the governor, “The counterpart fund is to enable the state access N1.4 billion from the EU/UNICEF for the implementation of WASH project in rural areas across the state. The project would cover the provision of clean water, toilets and other sanitation facilities in the rural areas to discourage open defecation.”
He said the project will enable the state government continue to support policies geared towards development of rural communities and human capacity building.
“This administration would ensure that programmes organised by donor agencies are sustained and the impact felt by benefiting communities.”
Obaseki commended the state’s WASH implementation team for the progress recorded, noting, “We want the implementation of the programme to be extended to include the training of more persons in repairs and fixing of water pumps and boreholes.”
He assured that, “The state government would take ownership of the water and sanitation projects while local government councils would be mandated to set aside specific amount of their monthly allocations for water and sanitation projects in their councils.”
The Chief of WASH programme, UNICEF Nigeria, Zaid Jurji, said the support of the state government is required for the effective implementation of the WASH programme in the state.
He added, “The WASH programme is aimed at improving access to clean and safe drinking water supply and sanitation facilities in rural areas across Nigeria. This will assist the state to tackle the problems of open defecation.”
Jurji expressed appreciation to the state government for promoting access to clean and safe water supply through the bill for the establishment of the Small Town and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency.