The Plateau State Government has reiterated its commitment to improve access to portable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the state.
Commissioner of Water Resources and Energy, Mr Sa’ad Bello, stated this at the project closeout meeting of the European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) (EU-TAC) in Plateau.
The meeting was held on Thursday, November 12, 2020 in Jos, the state capital.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ezekiel Pam, Bello said the state government had put in place modalities to ensure that residents of the state, both in urban and rural areas, had accesses to clean water with ease.
He said that the state government had enacted a law and some policies aimed at making portable water available and affordable to the people.
“The water sector governance in the state has been improved; we now have the WASH policy and institutional and sectorial policy.
“Most importantly, we have the water sector law which has been gazetted. This law has all that is required as a state to improve access to water.
“We currently have the Jos Water Services Corporation which will handle the provision of water to Jos metropolis, the Plateau Municipal Water Supply Agency and the Plateau Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (PRUWASSA) to provide water to the rural areas.
“With all these, it is evident that the government under the leadership of Gov. Simon Lalong is ready and making frantic efforts to improve access to clean water in the state,” he said.
The commissioner thanked non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) for supporting the government in its efforts to provide affordable water to the people.
He, in particular, commended the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) and WaterAid Nigeria for implementing the EU funded project in the state.
Speaking at the event, Mr Adebayo Alao, the Director of Programmes, WaterAid Nigeria, said the EU-TAC project had met its objectives.
According to Alao, the project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of CSOs to support state WASH institutions to fulfill their mandate of sustainable water and sanitation services.
He further said that the project had strengthened the capacity of over 25 CSOs to drive the process of improved water and sanitation governance, toward improved health, equity and inclusion in service delivery and gender mainstreaming, among others, in the state.
He, however, called on stakeholders in the water sector to collaborate and consolidate on the gains achieved to enable the state to accelerate universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.
“It is important to note that the journey to improving access to water and sanitation has not ended; it has just begun.
“We must work to sustain and consolidate on the gains of the EU-TAC project and accelerate universal access to water and sanitation in Plateau by 2030.
“We urge the CSOs to continue to advocate for improved WASH access in the state and the promote citizen engagement, to deliver on sustainable WASH services,” the director said.
Earlier, Dr Vings Lomak, Coordinator of NEWSAN in Plateau, said the EU-TAC project which began in 2018 had triggered rapid development in the water sector of the state.
According to him the state has started benefiting from the multiplier effects of the project, particularly in addressing poverty, diseases and a host of others.
He disclosed that the just concluded project is the pilot phase, adding that the full implementation of the project would soon commence.
“We thank EU for funding this project, thank WaterAid for providing technical support and thank the Plateau Government for giving us the enabling environment to operate,” he said.
By Polycarp Auta