Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has reaffirmed that his administration’s commitment to the Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme, just as he also made a commitment to ensuring that the state becomes the first state in Nigeria to attain the Open Defecation Free status.
Governor Ayade made the commitment at the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Calabar, when he received in audience, a delegation of funding agencies led by the Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Dr Ibrahim Khalil Conteh.
Cross River is already the leading state in sub-sharan Africa in the elimination of open defecation, with five of its local government areas having been declared Open Defecation Free by the United Nations.
He said: “We gave a commitment on a global stage “Mandela 100”, where Cross River State made a commitment that we will provide the sum of three million dollars annually for the next five years, in support of the WASH ( Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene) programme. That commitment was audacious, it was driven by a very strong philosophy because we know the relevance of water. Water is life, and therefore if you can fix water you have fixed life.
“If you fix water you have fixed health, if you fix health you have fixed productivity, if you fix productivity you have fixed the economy. And I’m making again another good commitment that we will be the first state in Nigeria that will have 100 percent Open Defecation Free status. It’s a commitment that I am giving now, and I will uphold it with every fibre of my being.”
Ayade further stressed that “In making this commitment, I am conscious of the financial implication. It is against that arrogance of faith that we have signed and have made available the sum of 500 million naira and also, a sum of 200 million naira was set aside for RUWASA as a commitment to the WASH programme. So, approximately two million dollars out of three million dollars has been committed in line with our declaration.”
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