Why we are prioritising access to water, sanitation – Plateau Commissioner

From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos

Plateau State Government on Thursday reiterated its commitment to improve access to portable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the state.

It equally said government has put in place modalities to ensure residents of the state, cutting across rural and urban levels access clean water with ease.

This was disclosed by the
Commissioner of Water Resources and Energy in the state, Sa’ad Bello, at the project closeout meeting of the European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) (EU-TAC) in the State, held in Jos.

Bello who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ezekiel Pam, said government has put modalities in place to ensure residents of the state, both at rural and urban levels accesses clean water with ease.

He explained that government has enacted a law and some policies aimed at making portable water available and affordable for the people.

According to him, “The water sector governance in the state has been improved; we now have the WASH policy, as well as 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 Co-operation, 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 bid to provide affordable water for the citizenry.

He commended, in particular, the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) and WaterAid Nigeria, for implementing the EU funded project in the state.

Also speaking, Director of Programmes, WaterAid Nigeria, Adebayo Alao, said the EU-TAC project has met it’s objectives.

Alao explained that, the project was aimed at strengthening the capacity of CSOs to support state WASH institutions to fulfill their mandate of sustainable water and sanitation services.

He maintained that the project has 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, 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 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,” he urged.

In his earlier address,
Coordinator of NEWSAN in Plateau, Dr Vings Lomak, said the EU-TAC project which began in 2018 has triggered rapid development in the water sector across the state.

According to him, the state has started benefiting from the multiplying effects of the project, particularly in addressing poverty, diseases and host of others.

He explained that, the just concluded project was the pilot phase, adding that the full implementation of the project would soon commence.

“We thank EU for funding this project, WaterAid for providing technical support and the Plateau State Government for giving us the enabling environment to operate”.

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