Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Story By Akinola Emmanuel, March 24, 2021

A developmental expert and President of the Association Of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners Practitioners (AWDROP), Ale Micheal has tasked the Federal Government of Nigeria to collaborate with experts in water industry to provide safe drinking water.

Ale, the Co founder, Global Initiative for Nigeria Development (GIND) while speaking on Tuesday with Abimbola Olowu ,a radio program anchor on Fresh FM in Ibadan on commemoration of this year’s World Water Day, he said Government at the local level is doing little or nothing to provide safe drinking water.

He said: “Every March 22 is marked by United Nation to celebrate water and this year’s theme is, ‘valuing water’. World is covered by water and we have merely 3 percent as fresh water of total 98 percent.

“My organization is a business minded organization. We have human face in terms of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). If we look at it comparatively, we have done more than government in providing safe and clean water. We are working to complement government efforts, takes for example if we don’t have boreholes in the world, what would have happened to livelihood? Now, we are talking about children and adult, I can say we in private sector have done more than government. Despite the heavy cost, we are able to give safe and clean water to our client at subsidized cost to provide safe and clean water.

“We have a situation where the Federal Government has helped the Road transport owners and workers with their vehicles, also with good roads and motor parks, the market women with shops and beautiful markets, and so on and so forth., but when it comes to our industry, nothing has been done to assist Practitioners. Moreso, the only program earn marked has been scrapped by some unscrupulous individual in government. This is really bad.
I don’t see where Government is collaborating instead we are subsidizing to provide these facilities to provide water for the people. People don’t even want to dig well again because the cost is almost equivalent to digging borehole. In rural areas, we don’t have water resources and we don’t know which of the 36 state governors is ready to collaborate with us even including the state we are I. Oyo State.
Speaking on lack of regulation as major challenge, he said: I don’t want to be sentimental about this, but I want to say unequivocally that water should be treated as a business. African Development Bank current President Akinwunmi Adesina during his tenure as the Minister for Agriculture in Nigeria emphasized the business face of Agriculture and a department was created where giving agric input for free was stopped. Same way to value water, water must be treated as business. We have Asejiri dam in Oyo State, what is the percentage of water coming from there for Ibadan people. Why must we depend solely on dam alone? Why drillings are not regulated? These are areas calling for concern.

“Livelihood is more important than environment because environment is of no importance if there are no people therein. The issue is, should we die because we don’t want environment to be destroyed. Therefore, are we placing premium on environment above people? It’s just like we are saying planes should not fly because their emission of gas is destroying Ozone layers. This is to say that borehole drillers’ activities are not destroying the environment against belief from some quarters. Regulation of operators in drilling industry is what is important to avoid environmental degradation through haphazard drilling. From time of immemorial, boreholes have been sunk and there were no advert effect. The only effect is that the water is drying up because the volume of underground water is no longer sufficient for consumption. And soon, this may be causing disputes between neighbours when available water can’t serve a neighborhood. The only solution to this is, regulations of borehole operations in Nigeria.

“Government and stakeholders in water sector must come together to fashion out solutions to haphazard drilling of boreholes and as a way to conserve our environment”.

Also speaking on 2030 UN’s water target goal, Ale noted that with realities on ground, Nigeria can’t reach that target. He maintained that after 2030’s expiration of the water goal, there will be another goal for another 15 years. He advised that for Nigeria to achieve the goals, FG must domesticate UN’s method to realize the goals.

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