Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Afon, headquarters of Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State was agog penultimate week with the commissioning of a motorised borehole that an outgoing female corps member donated to provide drinkable water to the community. Enigimi Emike Faith, a graduate of Agriculture from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, was posted to Kwara State last year for her mandatory one year service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), she was oblivious of the challenges ahead of her.
After orientation course at the scheme’s camp in Yikpata, Edu Local Government Area of the state, where corps members would have been taught what it requires to acclimatise with the new environment they found themselves. Faith was posted to a school for her primary assignment in Afon.
Out of curiosity, she noticed that every pupil in the classroom was armed with a 35cl water bottle, though the content contained therein appeared like tea. She discovered that the content was water. With utter disbelief, the female corps member’s mind was unsettled knowing the health implications of drinking such water.
However, having come to terms with the common saying that “water is life,” Faith initiated the move to provide what eluded the people over the years through her community development project.
It was exactly three months and 16 days when she undertook a motorised borehole project. Sited around the vicinity of primary school in Afon, the project was officially commissioned for use. Faith’s speech at the ceremony evoked emotions, as she could not fight back tears. As tears rolled down her cheeks so also some of her colleague-corps members, who became hypnotised watching her.
Quoting statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, she disclosed that 2.1billion people lacked access to safely managed drinking water, pointing out that water scarcity affects four out of 10 people globally. She noted that a good source of water was vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, education and economic productivity of population.
Faith said Afon community was also battling with water challenge with wells and hand pumps as their major sources of water. She added that her visit to the Water Treatment Plant of the Ministry of Water Resources at Afon revealed that the facility was moribund and dysfunctional, prompting her to embark on the borehole project to address the acute shortage of drinkable water in the community:
“The Afon community is not left out in this global water challenge. Observations show that the major sources of water are wells and hand pumps. Asides water being scarce, some of the sources of water available are not fit for drinking. Only a few boreholes are available in the community, hence the clean sources of water available for the community are barely enough for the teeming population.
“This moved me to pay a visit to the Kwara State Ministry of Water Resources, Water Treatment Plant at Afon, which I found out to be moribund, lifeless and dysfunctional. This informed my being part of the change the community needed. Water is a vital tight resource required for existence, sustenance and restoration of life in all living creatures.
“Sadly, my findings show that the people of Afon and suburbs during dry seasons combs brooks and rivers in search of potable water in ungodly hours that they can never find.” She appealed to the state government to urgently raise a technical team for the resuscitation of the community water treatment plant to solve perennial water problem.
NYSC Inspector for Ilorin Zone, Mrs Funmilayo Babatunde, said the successful completion of the project was an indication that Nigerians were ready to grow the nation. She urged the people to encourage the donor with prayers, describing it as the only way to reward her kind gesture.
Baale of Afon, Alhaji Ibrahim Adelodun, lamented that the community had been suffering from lack of drinkable water for the past 20 years in spite of having Asa River that supplies water to the residents of Ilorin metropolis. He said it was not surprising that the Edo State born female corps member brought life to the community with the provision of motorised borehole.
He recalled that a former military governor of the state, from Edo State, the late Brigadier George Innih, also made landmark achievements while in office. He expressed gratitude of the community to the female corps member, and assured her that his people would continue to pray for her.
State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs Esther Ikupolati, said community development service project was one of the cardinal objectives of the scheme, saying that she was impressed with the water project. She urged other corps members to take a cue from Faith by embarking on community development projects with a view to strengthening their relationship with their host communities.
Speaking through Mr Gangana Elayo, Ikupolati enjoined corps members with intention to site projects in their communities of residence to undertake need assessment before executing such projects. She said the NYSC would be excited to see corps members donating water and toilets to their host communities to further project the essence of the scheme.
She pleaded with the people of Afon to guard the project jealously and cautioned that the NYSC would be unhappy to see it not being properly used.