All thanks to Oando PLC and its Joint Venture (JV) Partners, NNPC and NAOC, the over 5,000 residents of Agbere Community, Bayelsa state were overjoyed at no longer being another statistic. They were finally taken off the appallingly high statistic of 69 million Nigerians without access to clean portable water, following the commissioning of a 20,000 gallon water scheme in the community.
According to the Oando representative at the commissioning, “The initiative is grounded in the fact that water is a fundamental human need. Each person requires at least 20 to 50 liters of clean, safe water, daily, for drinking, cooking, and simply keeping themselves clean. Sadly, today in Nigeria there is an alarming dearth of access to clean water, and at Oando, we want to bridge this gap especially in our host communities.”
The laudable water scheme will drastically reduce deadly water-borne diseases in the community such as typhoid fever, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A to name a few. The scheme will also reduce the amount of time spent looking for water especially in rural areas, as noted by UNICEF – 19 million Nigerians walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers.
One could rightfully say that Oando and its JV partners heeded the words of UNICEF Communications Specialist, Eva Hinds, who said: “Improving water and sanitation services as well as basic hygiene practices in Nigeria, calls for strong commitment from all partners-the Government, civil society, the private sector and communities.”
He said: “For Nigeria to achieve the global goal of providing access to safe water for every citizen by 2030, it needs to make water, together with sanitation and hygiene, a national priority. This goal is closely linked with three key results for the country – good health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.”
The water scheme, in line with goal six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ‘Ensure Access to Water and Sanitation for all”, will also reduce infant mortality rates in the Agbere community as diarrhoea a water borne disease remains the leading cause of death amongst children under ﬁve years of age in Nigeria.
In order to ensure the water scheme is maintained thereby ensuring it has a long life span and is able to support future generations in the community, the water plant came fully kitted with a 30KVA diesel power generating set with an external diesel storage tank and power connections as well as a shelter for the generator and treatment plant, a cased borehole of about 200m depth and a 10HP submersible pump, 3,000m reticulation / distribution water pipes with 30 fetching taps.
Speaking during the commissioning of the project, the Paramount Ruler of the Community, Chief John Maseri thanked the JV Partners for completing and commissioning the project. He noted that water was the most essential necessity of life and therefore, with the commissioning of the water project, NAOC JV has made life more meaningful for the people of the Community. The Paramount Ruler promised that the Community will continue to ensure that a conducive working environment is provided for the company’s operations and Community’s development.