By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri — Stakeholders on water have asked the Anambra/ Imo River Basin Development Authority to embark on the recycling or re-use of waste water to ensure rapid economic development of its catchment areas.
They spoke during an interactive session with the management of the River Basin Development Authority led by Mr. Micheal Nwabufo, to mark the “Water Action Month,” at Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State weekend.
Members of the Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation led by Comrade Clinton Ezeigwe, who participated in the meeting highlighted the need for the re-use of waste water, adding that it would help agency to meet its growing demand by the people. Ezeigwe said: “Reusing wastewater can help meet demand from growing and increasing economic development. Our health depends on access to clean water as well as preserving and protecting our water resources.
“This advocacy meeting today, not only symbolizes partnership and teamwork, but what we can all do collectively to make a difference.
“We are here to call on the management of Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority; to discuss about reducing and reusing wastewater.
“And at the same time we are calling for governments to keep their promises and commitments and realize the right of the people to water and sanitation at all times.”
They also, asked communities in the southeast to cultivate the attitude of protecting government projects as they would their personal properties.
The Managing Director of River Basin Development Authority, Mr. Micheal Nwabufo, also, spoke on the need for “orientation realignment” that would enable communities in the region to own up projects built in their areas.
Nwabufo said: “it has been observed that some people look at government projects as nobody’s property and therefore they pay lesser attention to it in terms of guiding and protecting such projects for their own good.”
“Our people must change their attitude on how they see governments’ projects; they should start now to see projects built in their areas by the governments as their own.
“They can also go to the extent of having what I call project management committees to enable them sustain these projects.
“It is not government alone. The communities are the ones directly benefitting from the projects and should go a long way in safe guarding the projects.”
While on the issue of the yearly budget for the agency, he further said: “The major issue is the budget. Everybody will love to have everything he needs. The envelope has been given to us as regards to the budget and we rely and will work accordingly based on what is in the envelope.
“So, before we cite any project in any place, we carry the people along and let them know that they should own up the project.
“First, what we do is to have a stakeholders’ meeting to know exactly what they really need so that it will not be a wasteful venture.
“I want to also let you know that we cannot focus on water only. We are a development based organisation. We are the natural vehicle to drive developments. We get water to supply good drinking water. We also supply water for dams. We are also involved in erosion control. While doing these, we also assist people to create access roads for them to use their water.”
The Water Action Month aims to bring together the voices of all people working to push water and sanitation crisis in the forefront of policy making so that, collectively we can be heard, as Nigeria faces water crisis that threatens the lives of millions of her people every year. The resolution of the water crisis offers the potential for increase in wealth, health and dignity for the people of the whole country.
According to the stakeholders, “Tackling water and sanitation must be the central concern of government and we the people must remind our leaders that water and sanitation are cross-cutting issue at the heart of development.”