Hon. Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Engr. Dondo Ahire with Members of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on the revitalization of WASH Sector in Benue State.
Ministry of Water Resources and Environment and Benue Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA) champion maiden meeting of inter-ministerial steering committee for revitalization of WASH Sector in Benue State.
Formed and inaugurated on 10th of December, 2019 at the launch of clean Benue: Use the toilet campaign in Makurdi Benue State, the Inter-ministerial steering committee on the revitalization of the WASH sector in Benue was charged with the responsibility of driving the process of revitalizing the WASH sector in the state.
Drawn from all WASH-related ministries, departments and agencies as well as religious and non-governmental organizations, the committee is made up heads of the aforementioned bodies. The inaugural meeting was held at the Tor Tiv Hall of Benue Hotels, Makurdi on Friday, 23rd October, 2020.
In his welcome remarks, the Honorable Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Engr. Dondo Ahire stated: “the state government through the ministry of water resources and environment had taken some steps in the past through the development of the Benue WASH policy in 2018 which was launched in 2010. Similarly, provision of water and sanitation services has been one of the core mandates of this administration and significant achievements have been made particularly in the rural areas.”
An Abuja based WASH Consultant and Managing Partner, Mangrove & Partners Limited, Mr. Timeyin Uwejamomere who chaired the inaugural meeting of the committee, presented the background to the national action plan for the revitalization of WASH Sector in Nigeria (PEWASH, Clean Nigeria etc). He said Benue is one of the first states to inaugurate her steering committee and encouraged all stakeholders in the state as well as the Benue State government to key into the various federal government partnerships on WASH to fast track the provision of water and a clean hygienic environment for the people of the state.
The Executive Governor of the state, Dr. Samuel Ortom who was represented virtually by the Director General, Benue State Planning Commission Hon Samuel Unom appreciated the stakeholders for their efforts and sacrifices and encouraged them to bring all their experiences to bear on the spheres of influence to bridge the long WASH-gap in Benue State.
In a memorandum, the General Manager, Benue Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA). Mrs. Torkwase Ikyaator stressed that; Benue has performed below par on several WASH Indices;
“Over 52% of the population in Benue State defecates in the open while only 20% of households use improved sanitation facilities. Access to tap water services is insignificant in Benue State, as tap water has reached only 0.1% of dwellings. The dominant source of water supply is unprotected surface waters, about 40%. Tube well or borehole accounts for 29.9% of access, while protected dug well provides for 27.2%,” she submitted.
Highlights of the meeting included, definition of roles and responsibilities of the steering committee, discussions, questions and answers, presentation of memos, documentation and resolutions as well as goodwill messages from key stakeholders like United Purpose, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Water Aid, BENGONET, Christian Association of Nigeria and others.
A draft copy of the terms of reference for the steering committee was reviewed and adopted as the inaugural meeting ended with great optimism amidst exchange of pleasantries by members and all present.