Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The worry of how to source for portable water in six communities of Okpella Clan, Estako East Local Government, Edo State, especially during the dry season, is now a thing of the past.
The communities, Iddo, Imiakuri, Awuyemi, Ogute, Okhuonmunyio and Imiegiele bade farewell to water scarcity courtesy of Bua Cement Company, which installed solar powered boreholes as part of its corporate social responsibility to the communities. With gesture, the communities will no longer climb the hills and valleys, the rocky paths, to look for water for their day-to-day domestic use.
Bua’s General Manager in charge of administration, Mr Richard Gidado, told them: “Whoever brings water, our people say brings life. I am happy that we have brought life to Imiegiele and many more things will follow. I know all of you are enjoying the electricity supply that BUA is assisting in subsidizing. We have brought water and we are still bringing more.
“Earlier this morning, the board of scholarship scheme has been inaugurated and they will swing into action. We are going to train your children in the universities. We are sure that you are going to manage this borehole and it will serve you. The contractor is from Okpella and he has assured us that in all seasons, it will yield, it will bring water.”
He allayed the communities’ fears over availability of electricity to power the boreholes, assuring them that the boreholes are solar powered: “Do not be afraid, it is not like those other projects that they will commission and after commissioning, there will be no water, you will have water.
“During the dry season, you will have water, during the rainy season, you will have water and even when there is no light, it is solar powered, there will still be water. That is what we want to commission here today and we appreciate your warm reception. It shows that you are happy because you have prepared seats and tables for us.
“We identified the need in this environment and know that they have poor water supply in this place and our company has taken it as a priority among many other projects that we are going to run in the community to solve their water need and that is why we have come here today. As we have this one here, we have boreholes that we have constructed in the other five villages in Okpella.”
Chief Eme Sadoh, the Otoiokpella of Okpella, said they have been relieved of the burden of how to get quality water for their daily use: “BUA has tried, what they have done is historical because we have not seen something like this before and we thank them. We get water from streams, wells, rainwater and so on but now, we are lucky BUA has provided us with this water.”
Chief Peter Afiabo, a community leader, said: “Anyway, there is no human being you will dip an honey into his mouth and he will spit it out. The project is very good. Over here, we lack water from time to time especially during the dry season.
“Our women, they move far off before they could get water but with this one, I think we are happy by the grace of God.
“Like that of the scholarship, though we have been expecting the Community Development Agreement, (CDA) to be signed into law, I think they have started to implement that which is part of our CDA that is community development agreement. I think the scholarship will enhance our educational power and we will be very happy. We want it.”
Mrs Patience Sunday, another member of the community, said: “I feel very happy and pray that God should bless the donor.”