ACCOUNTABILITY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT HELD ON FRIDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY, 2017 AT NUJ HOUSE, MAKURDI
The present Ministry of Water Resources and Environment is as a result of the merger of the former Ministry of Environment and Urban Development and that of Water Resources by the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom on 12th October, 2015.
- The Ministry is responsible for policy formulation and implementation in the Water and Environmental sectors of the state,
- Collaboration with the Federal Government, other state and local governments, international agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations amongst others in the areas that have direct bearing on the programmes and activities of the Ministry,
- Supervises the parastatals under the Ministry namely, Water Board, Benue State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASSA) and the Benue State Environmental Sanitation Authority (BENSESA).
- Structure of the Ministry
The Ministry is structured into eight (8) departments with their heads of departments as follows:
- Administration and Supply – Member Angweh
- Finance and Accounts – Mffo Jonathan
- Planning, Research and Statistics – Stephen I. Alakih
- Rural Water Supply and Hydrogeology – Isaiah Tar Abata
- Environmental Pollution and Waste Management – Adzaagee Tar Richard
- Engineering Services – Joseph Jime
- Forestry Services – Tyolumun Gever
- Urban Water Supply and Quality Control – Enewa Onjeh Allison
As stated earlier, the Ministry oversees the following parastatals and their heads;
- Benue State Water Board – Mitin Michael Dzungu
- Benue State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency Ejembi Elah
- Benue State Environmental Sanitation Agency (BENSESA) Andrew Chile
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press, as you are already well aware, the present administration was inaugurated on 29th May, 2015 at a very challenging time in the history of the state in particular and the country at large.
However, in spite of the challenges, Governor Samuel Ortom sprang into action immediately after assuming duties and here are some of the land mark achievements recorded in the last two years:
- Staff Welfare:
The Ministry places premium on the welfare of staff and ensures their optimum productivity. To this end, the Ministry has promoted 76 deserving staff of its agencies up to 2017 while the junior staff for the same period is being processed.
In addition to promotion of the work force, the Ministry regularly off set medical claims of its staff as well as identify with staff members in times of bereavement and festivities as a matter of obligation.
Staff training and participation in skills/knowledge acquisition workshops both locally and nationally has been jealously pursued in order to keep the staff abreast professionally.
- Staff Recruitment
The Government has recruited about 750 casual staff and deployed them in street sweeping of Makurdi, Gboko, Katsina-Ala and Otukpo as well as enforcement of sanitation activities in Makurdi metropolis.
It is worthy of mention that the salaries of this category of workers has been paid up to February 2017 in spite of the paucity of funds in the state.
Government has also released money on regular basis for the procurement of work tools for the street sweepers across the state and this account for the improved hygiene/cleanliness of the state.
- Urban Water Supply
- Otobi-Otukpo and Katsina-Ala Water Works:
Upon assumption of duty, His Excellency Samuel Ortom paid visits to the above water schemes only to find out that they were not functional due to non-payment of contract obligations by the immediate past administration. The Governor made part payment of about six hundred million naira (N600,000,000.00) and the contractor has since returned to site while the benefitting communities are now enjoying portable water supply.
- Regular Supply of Water Treatment Chemicals and Diesel:
The Ortom administration has ensured that the Water Board receives regular supply of water treatment chemicals and diesel to maintain unhindered water supply. Diesel is also given to NASME so as to maintain regular water supply to North Bank communities.
- Maintenance of pipelines in Makurdi and Katsina/Ala Towns:
The Governor has released over 8.2 million to facilitate the maintenance of pipelines in Makurdi so as to improve water supply in these key towns.
- Maintenance/Resuscitation of Water Supply:
The Makurdi Modern Market, the Cabinet Office, and the Benue State University Teaching Hospital are organizations that have benefitted from this gesture worth several millions of naira.
- North-Bank Community
On assumption of office, the Governor, observing the plight of the people living in North Bank graciously approved about fifteen million naira despite the paucity of funds to link NASME water works to the St. Mary’s overhead tank with the aim of distributing water to the civilian population. As we are talking, the nooks and crannies of North Bank communities are enjoying the free supply of pipe borne water.
- Rural Water Supply:
- The State Government under the able leadership of Dr. Samuel Ortom has paid a whooping five hundred million naira (N500,000,000.00) counterpart contribution to the implementation of sanitation, hygiene and water in Nigeria (SHAWN).
- Provision of boreholes (both motorized and hand pump) across communities in the state. Some of these communities include; Government Girls College, Makurdi, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Makurdi, Makurdi Medium Security Prisons Kanshio, Jaki in Kwande Local Government, Tse Kuegh in Vandeikya LGA etc.
- Drilling of 36 motorized boreholes distributed as follows: 6 in Obi LGA, 16 in Ogbadibo LGA, 6 in Buruku and 8 in Katsina-Ala LGA. These are at 95% completion stage.
- Drilling of hand pump boreholes as follows: 130 in Obi LGA, 130 in Buruku LGA, 163 in Katsina-Ala LGA, 49 in Konshisha LGA, 45 in Oju LGA and 8 in Tarka LGA amongst many other ventures in this regards. All at 75% completion amounting to 523 in number.
- Rehabilitation of 19 no motorized boreholes and 67 no hand pumped boreholes distributed as follows: 8 motorized boreholes in Konshisha LGA, 3 in Oju LGA, 6 in Tarka LGA and 2 in Ogbadibo LGA. 2 hand pump boreholes in Guma LGA, 2 in Konshisha, 60 in Tarka LGA, 1 in Oju LGA, 2 within the premises of BERWASSA and 3 no hand dug boreholes in Otukpo LGA. All of the above are at 100% completion.
- Provision of 15 no hand pump boreholes by intervention of Australian aid under RUSHPIN programme with 5 no each in Gwer, Logo and Agatu LGAs.
- Provision of 16 no boreholes, 10 no hand dug wells, 2 no motorized boreholes and 6 no VIP latrines all 100% complete in communities of Ado and Logo LGAs through the Benue State Water Aid Nigeria Programme.
- Ongoing rehabilitation of 300 no hand pump boreholes in 6 LGAs of Konshisha, Oju, Tarka, Buruku, Obi and Katsina-Ala all at 60% completion.
- Construction of 175 No blocks of VIP latrines in three LGAs with work at 80% completion as follows: 58 blocks in primary schools and 9 blocks in primary health care center in Katsina-Ala, 46 blocks in primary schools and 8 blocks each in Buruku and Obi LGAs.
- A total of 1,627 no communities are now open defecation free (ODF) as declared by the Stae Group on Sanitation (STGS).
- Provision of 109 (10 litres) jerry cans, 228 (25 litres) jerry cans, 66 plastic cups, 11 cartons of water purifiers as well as 100 hand washing instructional materials, 4 cartons of bar soap, 120 water filtration clothes for Internally Displaced Persons at Aila/Obagaji in Agatu LGA.
- Commenced rehabilitation of the moribund laboratory of the Agency, overhauling of drilling equipment and plants and other vehicles of the agency.
- Banning of logging activities in the State in order to halt the damaging scenario of climate change.
- Re-survey and afforestation of the existing forest reserves in the state.
- Annual tree planting exercise.
- Desalting of storm drains, repair of broken down segments and the construction of new drains will soon commence in order to stop the menace of flood and erosion in the state.
- Recovery, Repair/Overhaul of equipment
To avoid wasteful expenditure, several vehicles of BENSESA and BERWASSA have been recovered, repaired and put to meaningful use since this government came to power in May, 2015.
The completion and commissioning of the mobile court at BENSESA is a step towards enforcement of the sanitation laws in the state on daily basis.
Adequate financial base will solve our problems be it diesel/lubricants, operation vehicles, manpower engagement, procurement of spare parts and even the maintenance of existing machinery and recruitment of work force.