The Benue State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, BERWASA, has executed 638 water projects during the two-year tenure of the Samuel Ortom administration in Benue State.
General Manager of the Agency, Engineer Ejembi Ella, made the disclosure today after inspecting some of the projects in Tarka and Buruku Local Government areas.
He stated that the projects were executed in partnership between the state government, the Department for International Development, DFID, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, under the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria, SHAWN, project in eight local governments in the state.
He listed them as Ogbadigbo, Obi, Oju, Tarka, Buruku, Guma, Konshisha and Katsina-Ala.
Engineer Ella who stated that out of the figure, 594 were hand pumps while 44 were motorised boreholes said the the agency has also rehabilitated over 344 others across the state.
He said the feat was achieved with the payment of over N600 million counterpart fund by Governor Ortom noting that with the availability of funds and ability to pay, more local Government areas would be covered in the SHAWN program.
In the sanitation area, the General Manager stated that 197 VIP latrines have been built across the state during the period under review adding that 2000 communities have been declared as open defecation free as a results of efforts of the Agency over the years.
He urged the local councils who have been slated for the scale up programs but were not benefiting to pay the required funds to the agency to enable them benefit from the Water and Sanitation projects and commended Guma, Apa and Okpokwu for already doing so.
In his comments, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, who was accompanied the inspection team commended the quality of the projects stressing that the Ortom administration exploited the window created by development partners to improve to deliver on projects that could improve the lives of the people.
He pledged the determination of the Ortom administration to deepen the relationship with them in order to be able to do more in the education, water and sanitation sectors.
Two residents of the benefitting communities, Mr. James Mbiho and Alhaji Adamu Jibril said the projects have alleviated their sufferings and made them to live healthier lives and promised to protect them from vandalism.
The inspection team visited solar and electricity powered as well as hand pump boreholes at Pipeline and Asukunya communities in Tarka Local Government and Mbaapen in Buruku Local Government areas.