• Obaseki tasks religious leaders on illegal migration, human trafficking
Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo Government has said it has expended N4 billion on various water projects across the state between January 2017 and February 2018, in collaboration with the European Union (EU).
Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Yekini Idaiye, disclosed this yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin.
He said the projects were meant to provide potable water to the people.
Idaiye said the water projects were sited in seven local government areas of the state and added that N1.3 billion has been budgeted for water this year.
He gave the breakdown of the projects as follows; Ovia South West and Etsako West local government areas, N1 billion; Uhunmwonde, Ohrionmwon and Owan West local government area, N2 billion.
The commissioner said N1 billion will be spent on the activation of the Ugboha water scheme executed during the former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration which was not activated.
“The projects, which are jointly funded by the state government and the EU, through counterpart funding arrangement, are in various stages of completion.
“Some of the projects will come on stream before August.
“For the N1 billion projects in Ovia South West and Etsako West, the EU provided about N700 million while the state paid N380 million,” he said.
Idaiye said the projects were sited in rural and urban areas and added that those in the rural communities had attained 70 percent completion while work had commenced in the ones in the urban areas.
The commissioner said the EU provided N1.4 billion for the projects in Uhunmwode, Orhionmwon and Owan West while the state provided the balance.
He further said the EU also paid N700 million while the state provided N300 million for the Ughoha water activation scheme.
“The beauty of these projects is that water will be reticulated to communities and villages in the council areas where they are sited,” he said.
Idaiye also disclosed that the state government planned to reactivate the dams across the state to boost water supply.
He said to ensure sustainability of the projects, the state government had commenced the process of setting up Water Consumers Association (WCA) and would train 500 artisans to work at the plants.
“The duty of the WCA is to ensure efficient management of these water projects in each of the communities where they are sited, as well as guide them against vandals.
“The artisans to be trained will ensure that any fault that may arise from these projects is promptly fixed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Obaseki has called on religious leaders to join hands with the government in the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking.
His Special Assistant on Illegal Migration and Anti-Human Trafficking, Mr. Solomon Okoduwa, on behalf of the governor, made the call during a church advocacy on illegal migration and anti-human trafficking at Cross of Christ and Fire Ministry, Benin.
He said the decision to take the advocacy to churches is aimed at discouraging people from embarking on the risky journey to Europe through Libya. He added that the advocacy programme is also being carried out in schools and markets.
Obaseki said when religious leaders lend their voices against illegal migration and human trafficking, they would be reduced to the barest minimum. “Because of your influence among your congregation, the people will easily listen to you when you speak against these ills.”
“The people must be made to realise that life in Europe is not as easy as being made to believe. Even if you must travel, there are better ways to travel than through the desert.
“Don’t go through the back door. When you want to travel, do it in a dignifying manner, not through the Sahara Desert,” he said.