COVID-19: Cross River releases N79m for micro projectsBy Adesina Wahab

The National President, Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners, AWDROP,  Engr. Michael Ale, has advocated the provision of more water facilities in the forms of boreholes and motorised wells especially in rural areas to curb the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable groups.

This, according to him, is necessary since personal hygiene in the form of constant washing of hands can only be done when clean water is available to do so.

Ale, in a statement on Monday, said many rural dwellers and even some people in urban centres, lacked access to clean water and are therefore susceptible to a number of diseases.

He said: “the main instruction from the World Health Organisation, WHO, is to wash hands from running taps without touching the taps for hygiene purposes. But, where are the running taps especially in the villages? In some villages where they are lucky to have hand pump water facilities, can anyone guess how many hands hold the pumps each day as people strive to get water for their daily chores.

“Stay at home order is effective in developed countries because their water infrastructure are piped, which is not the same in a country like Nigeria. Many houses in the rural areas are running out of water. And because they are disadvantaged somehow, there is nobody to get their predicament known to the public.”

Ale, a consultant on water to many international organisations, explained that government at all levels should as a matter of urgency embark on massive drilling of boreholes which is a fast way to solving water scarcity and curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The Federal Government in some of its ongoing awareness campaigns and jingles has been advocating and advising people to always wash their hands in running water, but the question is how many of such facility is on ground? ”

“Even some of the advocates and political office holders who have been at the forefront of this campaign are also seen washing their hands in water basins contrary to what they had been preaching to their followers. This is not right, it exposes the weakness of the leaders in providing adequate infrastructure to the common man”.

The AWDROP National President however said the association was ready to positively and effectively collaborate with relevant government agencies, political office holders and Non Governmental Organizations to provide water for all, emphasising the importance of water to human lives.

“On-site sanitation and environmental hygiene is being advocated by water sanitation and hygeine experts around the world,  especially in the rural areas because of the need to get water from the public boreholes,” he added.

Ale therefore advised the government to provide water in schools, hospitals, markets, motor parks, religious centers and other places identified as public places.

According to him, “this gesture will surely help in post COVID-19 sustenance, reiterating that the government have the capacity to do more with less by subsidizing borehole cost for Nigerians through the Agro-Rural Water Supply Support Initiative, ARUWASSI.

Ale, who is also the National Coordinator of the project,  which is a collaborative initiative between AWDROP and FMARD, expressed satisfaction about the current capacity of the association to provide such assistance through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as more rigs had been procured to manage the current situation.



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