The Special Adviser on Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson has charged the people of Akwa Ibom State to take up the responsibility of protecting water infrastructure within their domains in the interest of their communities.
Barrister Ekong Sampson gave the charge while addressing a gathering in Uyo, to mark the 2017 United Nations World Water Day that was celebrated globally on Wednesday February 22, with the theme “Water and Wastewater”. The ceremony was marked in Akwa Ibom State by the Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources in conjunction with the State chapter of Borehole Drillers Association of Nigeria (BODAN).
According to the SA, the challenge of maintaining and sustaining water infrastructure in the State is enormous and behoves on every Akwa Ibomite to join hands with Government towards the well-being of the generality of the people. Vandalizing infrastructural facilities meant to provide such fundamental social amenity as potable water, for any reason, has been a huge disservice to humanity and is not in the best interest of any citizen or community, Barrister Sampson added.
He called on perpetrators to have a rethink from the destructive tendencies, but rise up to the challenge of protecting government infrastructure, including water facilities, for the betterment of the benefitting communities.
The Special Adviser said increasing access to domestic water and sanitation services and improving water resources management are catalytic to fighting poverty, safeguarding human health and reducing child mortality in developing countries. He however decried the levity with which water-related issues are treated by people in the State, including poor attitude towards water rates, as compared to electricity bills. In his words, “We see so much of water that we tend to take it for granted!”
Barrister Ekong Sampson reiterated the priority attached to water sector by Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration, pointing out that the of setting up the Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources to have direct supervision of water-related matters and ensure adequate supply of potable water for the State is a purposeful and timely innovation. He said the Bureau is making concerted effort to energize Akwa Ibom Water Company (AKWC) and AK-RUWATSAN to expand its services
and open up rural areas for safe and adequate water supply.
Following the assignment of all water management activities to the Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Barrister Sampson enumerated recent strides in the water sector of the State to include, re-positioning of Akwa Ibom Water Company for efficiency and results, provision of draft policy for urban and rural water supply in the State, consistency in remittance of counterpart funding for the EU/UNICEF/NDSP Water and Sanitation projects in the State, establishment of food sufficiency committee which will guarantee proactive steps and professional work plan for the provision of water as vital resource for agriculture, among others.
He maintained that the State Government is deeply concerned and is pursuing quality-driven water policies. According to the Special Adviser, AKWC has facilities to produce the most trusted potable water in the State. He said arrangement has been made for the Water Company to produce “Ibom Water”; a development which he said would help create job opportunities for our teeming youths and generate revenue for the State, in line with the economic policies of the present Government.
Ekong Sampson therefore urged all to draw lessons from the event and be re-dedicated to situate water as the pre-eminent peacemaker and neutraliser. Consumers should also be willing to pay for services rendered, he admonished.
He called on perpetrators to have a rethink from the destructive tendencies, but rise up to the challenge of protecting government infrastructure, including water facilities, for the betterment of the benefiting communities.ping the water sector and urged other stakeholders in the water industry to also support effective water supply and management with reduction in waste in line with year’s theme.
Also present to grace the occasion were the Permanent Secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Nse Edem, the Permanent Secretary for Water Resources, Mr. Emmanuel Essien, State Chairman of BODAN, Management staff of the Bureau and the Water Company, stakeholders in the water industry as well as the public.