By Andy Chukwu
The European Union and Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP) have promised to partner Akwa Ibom Government in ensuring that her citizens enjoy access to potable water across the state.
Ime Ekpo, Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, who described water as life, said the partnership between the state and EU would help improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.
He said the Udom Emmanuel’s administration was committed to providing potable water to residents and would continue to welcome collaboration from individuals and groups to attain the objective.
Ekpo identified children as the main target for the programme, adding that children who did not have access to water and sanitation facilities were most likely to lose interest in pursuing learning opportunities.
“This is because they will be forced to spend more time in search of water during school hours or stay out of school to recover from illnesses caused by frequent episodes of diarrhoea,” he said.
He described water as wealth, stressing that when citizens, especially those residing in rural communities, lead a healthy lifestyle, it would boost the socio-economic development of the state.
The EU delegation, led by Adedamola Oladeji, its Finance and Contract Officer, said Akwa Ibom was a critical partner with great deeds of commitment to improving the living standard of its people.
Oladeji said clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices were essential for the survival and development of children.
He said the partnership with Akwa Ibom government was in line with the Union’s objective to make life meaningful to Nigerians.
Uwem Etuk, Chairman of Akwa Ibom Water Company, explained the company’s readiness to support the partnership and ensure that the project was implemented for the benefits of Akwa Ibom people.
Etuk described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a people-oriented leader, passionate about the welfare and well being of his people.