Federal Government on Monday, March 25, 2019 inaugurated the national strategic plan tagged: “Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM)” to boost supply of potable water to rural dwellers.
Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, inaugurated the strategic plan at stakeholders’ workshop on implementing the National Action Plan for the revitalisation of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Abuja.
According to Adamu, VLOM is meant to address the reported low access to WASH services and the consequent high prevalence of water borne diseases in different parts of the country.
“VLOM has been prepared as part of the efforts on the access to adequate and equitable supply of safe drinking water in our rural areas.
“The strategy will not only enable us to put ownership of the facilities in the hands of the communities but have institutional arrangement for their adequate operation and maintenance.
“President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated the highest political commitment ever witnessed in the sector on Nov. 8, 2018.
“He did not only launch the National Action Plan for the revitalisation of WASH, but also declared a “State of Emergency’’ on the WASH sector.
“As Nigerians are waiting for the next action, this underscores the need for the workshop where we will begin to erect platforms for the implementation of the action plan,” he said.
According to the minister, the action follows the resolution of the recent meeting of the National Council of Water Resources where states of the federation were urged to adopt and commit themselves to the National Action Plan.
He said that the Federal Government had taken steps by setting up the National Coordination Office (NCO) to coordinate the action plan implementation.
The minister, therefore, used the workshop to appeal to the state governments to take advantage of the support offered by the NCO to implement the action plan in their respective states.
He said that this move would enable the rural communities to access effective WASH services within their areas.
Adamu said that the Federal Government would work with development partners such as World Bank, UNICEF, European Union, United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID), and French Development Agency among others to achieve the set goals of the plan.
The Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Comfort Ekaro, earlier explained that the workshop was aimed at redefining the period of the emergency and firm up priority actions for its implementation.
Ekaro said that the workshop would provide clear guidance and messages for the mobilisation of the citizenry, the political and traditional leadership on the action plan implementation.
Mr Ajisegiri Benson, the Director of Water Supply in his paper titled: “Responding to the WASH Crisis in Nigeria’’, said that Nigeria’s WASH sector was in crisis, emphasising the need for action to tackle the challenge.
Benson said that Nigeria lagged behind most of its neighbours in WASH sector and appealed to stakeholders to evolve strategies to resolve the crisis.
Mr Zaid Jurji, the Chief WASH UNICEF, pledged the agency’s commitment to partner with Nigeria in ensuring that WASH implementation in the country was ultimately achieved.
By Okon Okon