Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has inaugurated the newly-rehabilitated Egbe Dam to boost access to pipe-borne water to communities in two local government areas.
Performing the inauguration of the dam on Thursday in Egbe Ekiti as part of activities marking the fourth anniversary of his administration, communities in Ayekire Local Government Area and Gbonyin Local Council Development Area are immediate beneficiaries of the project.
Deputy governor, Egbeyemi
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Governor explained that his administration rehabilitated three major water supply schemes: Ero Dam, Ureje Dam and Egbe Dam with a combined daily drinking water supply capacity of 180,500 cubic meters.
Dr. Fayemi said the turnaround of the public water sector was achieved by his administration in collaboration with the European Union (EU) to the tune of N1.9 billion. He disclosed that the EU provided N1.4 billion while his administration made available N543 million counterpart fund.
Describing the Egbe Dam as “the flagship investment project to the reform programme supported by the EU,” the Governor said the inauguration marked the completion of Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme Phase III (WSSRPP III) that started in the state in 2012.
The public sector water reform programme with Ayekire/Gbonyin and Ekiti West as the focal council areas was started by Governor Fayemi during his first administration.
While thanking the development partner, the EU for the success of the project, Dr. Fayemi recalled that the project started in 2012 as a result of the readiness and willingness of his first administration t reform the water sector with the support of the European agency and the resolve to implement the Water and Sanitation Policy of 2012.
He stated that the programme was implemented in Ekiti West and Ayekire/Gbonyin council areas through a self selection mechanism among the 16 LGAs with the two council areas as focal LGAs.
The benefiting towns in the two focal LGAs, according to him, are Ijan, Iluomoba, Aisegba, Agbado, Ode, Egbe and Imesi in Gbonyin/Ayekire and Aramoko, Ikogosi, Erijiyan, Ipole Iloro, Okemesi, Ido Ile and Erio in Ekiti West.
Dr Fayemi said: In summary, the European Union spent over N1.4 billion on physical work contracts, supplies contracts, NGO grant contracts and project support funding, while Ekiti State Government also expensed N543 million as counterpart funding on the programme between 2014 and 2020.”
The Governor disclosed that as part of the ongoing reform of sector, Ekiti Water and Sewerage Company Limited was established as a Corporate Affairs entity to replace the erstwhile Ekiti State Water Corporation with the company expected to operate the three schemes optimally and sustainably with accountability as its hallmark to increase access to piped water.
Dr. Fayemi urged the people of the state to assist the state government and the newly-established water company by paying their water bills promptly to serve them better.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, said residents of the communities in the two council areas had been looking forward to the commissioning of the dam because of its importance to the social and economic lives.
Prof. Aluko described Ekiti as “well endowed with water resources in Nigeria” with four big water bodies in Ero, Ureje, Egbe and Itapaji which explained enormous resources committed by the Fayemi administration in reviving three out of the four.
The Commissioner said the apart from the benefiting local government areas in Ekiti State, communities in neighbouring Ondo State would also benefit but beneficiaries would pay water rates to generate revenue into the coffers of the state and for maintenance of the facilities.
In his address, the Owa Egbe of Egbe Ekiti, Oba Ayodele Ige, said the people of the town are full of appreciation to Governor Fayemi for bringing back to life the dam which had collapsed and remained moribund for decades.
Oba Ige noted that apart from provision of potable water, the dam could still be of immense economic benefits to the government and people of the state in the areas of irrigation, hydroelectric power generation and tourism.
The monarch also used the opportunity to appeal to the state government to help rehabilitate Egbe-Irun junction road, Egbe-Isinbode junction road and Egbe-Imesi road.
Commending the state government for the initiative, the Chairman of Federation of Water Consumers Association, Chief Olusegun Afun, said the dam would help improve living conditions of the people through access to clean water and boosting health and sanitation.
The ceremony was witnessed by the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barrister Paul Omotoso; Chairman, Ayekire Local Government, Mr. Ayodele Fadumiye; Chairman, Gbonyin Local Council Development Area, Mr. Damilare Ajayi; traditional rulers from the two council areas, community leaders and representatives of Civil Society Organisations.