Kebbi pledges to redeem N218.1 million counterpart funding; Zamfara, Sokoto urge sustenance

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From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

The Kebbi States Government has pledged to redeem its promised N218,133,334 counterpart funding to the United Nation Children Funds (UNICEF) Water Sanitation And Hygiene (WASH) programme.

Secretary to the Kebbi State Government Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri made the commitment while speaking during the annual review on Improving Sanitation, Hygiene and Safe drinking water in Northwest Nigeria(WASH) organized by UNICEF, held in Birnin Kebbi.

The WASH programme was inaugurated by UNICEF for Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states last year to improve water supply, hygiene and sanitation among children and women in rural areas.

While speaking at the annual review of the programme, Kebbi state SSG, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Garba Hamizu Zuru disclosed that the programme has been going on in three local government areas of the state which includes, Area, Bagudo and Shanga Local government areas.

According to him, “on the issue of WASH, the Kebbi State Government has straightened its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency as well as directed the creation of WASH departments in all the 21 local government areas. The Local government departments will be fully operational with the right calibre of staff.

“I am happy to inform you that very soon, the state government will redeem its pledge of N218,133,334.00 counterpart funding for the success of the intervention. We must not forget that this project, although, partner-driven, is for the overall well-being of our people. We should put all hands on deck to mobilise and ensure that the intervention is successful,” he said.

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The Secretary to Zamfara State Government, Alhaji Kabir Balarabe, in his goodwill message at the event, said that the provision of drinkable water and hygiene are part of the security measures that should be given to the people in their respective areas.

He noted that in Zamfara, since the commencement of the implementation of the project, there has been an impressive improvement in drinkable water supply in the state and urged all the stakeholders to put all hands on decks for the success of the WASH programme in the North West.

Speaking on the achievement recorded in Sokoto, Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Shuaibu Gwanda Gobir, represented by Director of Water Muhammad Bala, explained that the WASH programme has come into existence at the right time, stressing that what the three states needed now is how to sustain the programme.

Earlier, the Chief of WASH, UNICEF Nigeria, Jane Bevan, who spoke via Zoom, urged the legislatures of the three states to look into how to improve budgetary allocations to the water projects in their states.

She also appealed to all stakeholders to inculcate traditional rulers and religious leaders into the programme in order for them to sensitize their subjects on hygiene and the need to be consuming clean water in their areas.

The review meeting was attended by all the agencies under the Ministries of Water Resources in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states as well as other developing partners.

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