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PROVISION OF WATER IN RURAL AREAS, TOP PRIORITY –MINISTER

By NBF News

The provision of potable water in rural areas is top on the agenda of the Ministry of Water Resources, the Minister, Chief Obadiah Ando, has said.

Ando said on Tuesday that President Goodluck Jonathan had given the ministry marching orders to work on the provision of potable water for Nigerians.

'We have been instructed by the President to make sure that rural areas don't suffer lack of good drinking water even if that is what he will do in the whole of his administration,'' Ando said at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

He said the President was dismayed by the poor access to good water and had noticed its effects on the educational output of the girl-child.

'That is why he has asked us to produce water as much as we can through solar borehole, which does not demand too much of electricity, and wind mills, where it is possible,'' he said.

The minister said that the ministry would consider the peculiarity of each area in providing water in the rural areas.

'If you go to the South, they don't need the wind mills. Each area is taken with its own peculiarity, where the solar mills will be better, we will go for it; where ordinary boreholes will be better, we go for it; where the hand mills will be better, we go for it, and where it is just this pump, we do so,'' he said.

The minister said the ministry planned to use solar to provide water to more populated areas, but added that there would be 'small fees.''

'That small fee is for the maintenance of that solar borehole so that when it spoils, you don't have to leave that village and come to Enugu if you are in Enugu State, or you leave your village and go to Kano or any of those areas to go and complain,'' he said.

Ando said that a committee of elders and a board of trustees would be constituted to ensure adequate repair in case of any form of damage.

He said the project, when completed, would be handed over to the communities to ensure that they were adequately protected.

He added, 'What we are trying to do now is to train mechanics in every local government. We actually borrowed the idea from the Danjuma Foundation.

'You train the mechanics. Any time the borehole of a particular community, which is very near them, spoils, we will refuse that the community should bring anybody to come and touch the borehole except the mechanics we trained.''