The Bayelsa State Government has said that the delivery of potable water will no longer be free so as to enable the continuous reticulation of drinkable water to the doorsteps of Bayelsans.
The Commissioner for Water Resources, Nengi Tuborah, who stated in Yenagoa, said this was in line with the declaration by the United Nations Children Fund and the European Union that water provision should no longer be free.
He spoke during the 2018 Global Hand-washing Day organised by UNICEF and the Bayelsa State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BYS-RUWASSA).
This year’s programme, with the theme: ‘Clean Hands, a Recipe for Health’, attracted schoolchildren from the eight local government areas of the state.
Tuborah stated that the World Bank had been able to deliver water meters to the ministry, saying citizens who access the water systems must part with little resources to facilitate safe water provision to Bayelsans.
He said, “On this note, it has been declared by the World Bank, UNICEF and the EU that from now henceforth, water is no longer going to be free. Citizens, who access our water system must part with little of their hard earned resources to enable us distribute safe and potable to our people.
“It is going on not only in Bayelsa. The scheme is going on in Rivers, Lagos and Sokoto states. Water is the next money spinner to oil. Already, the World Bank has delivered water meters to us. We received them about a month ago.
“Any moment from now, we are going on with reticulating safe and potable water to the doorsteps of Bayelsans. It’s no longer going to be free. At least, residents are going to part with a token for us to ensure continuous delivery of water to Bayelsans.”
The Chairman, Bayelsa State House Committee on Water and Sanitation, Kate Okoto, said the reticulation project that would be running through the Ovom area was going on now, noting that the project was in phases.
The lawmaker representing the Southern Ijaw Constituency 1 said the project was being jointly executed through the intervention of UNICEF, the EU and the World Bank, noting that RUWASSA had already begun some projects for the rural dwellers in Brass Local Government Area of the state.
“Already the World Bank has said the next phase will focus on other areas in the urban centres. It is going to be an urban area water scheme. When that happens, I believe most areas in the urban areas will get water, even down to our rural areas,” Okoto stated.
In her opening remark, the RUWASSA Programme Manager, Mrs Asingbi Winikime, said that due to the flood that affected the state, Bayelsa could not celebrate the global day of hand washing with the rest of the world, which was held on October 15, 2018.
She urged parents and schoolchildren to ensure that they washed their hands effectively, adding that so many people had been washing their hands in a wrong way.
“If you wash your hands effectively, you will be free from any form of sickness. Diarrhoea will not come close to you. Dysentery will not come close to you. Cholera will not come close to you because if your hands are clean, you will be a health person,” Winikime added.