The Commissioner for Rural Development, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson has restated Government’s commitment to ensure access to water across rural communities in Akwa Ibom State.
The Honourable Commissioner made the declaration in a meeting with the Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP) Team in his office during the week. The meeting which had in attendance officials from international funding partners – the EU and UNICEF, was in line with the mid-term review mission of the water and sanitation component of the programmes.
In his address, Ekong Sampson expressed satisfaction with the activities of the team so far, adding that his Ministry and AK-RUWATSAN will not relent in their support for the project implementation agency to continue with their good works in the state. He also said the State Government was open to observations and advices from partners to make the implementation process faster and more efficient, so as to realize the project objectives.
The Rural Development Boss also disclosed that Government shared very deep concerns with the mission and agenda of NDSP in the State, which he acknowledged had much to do to better the lots of Akwa Ibom people. “Though we are challenged by the present economic tailspin, Governor Udom Emmanuel is keen about the essence of this programme and has instructed that a framework be put in place to ensure State Government’s counterpart funding for the project implementation”, Sampson said. He advocated an extension of the programme deadline.
The Commissioner however reiterated his Ministry’s poise to pursue and support policies that will guarantee adequate, quality-based water supply to rural communities in the State. Contesting the assertion that water is life, he argued that some kind of water could rather bring death. According to him, only good water is life.
Dr. Richard Pagett an EU representative and the mid-term review mission team leader speaking on behalf of the team thanked the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State for the hospitality and warmth his team has enjoyed so far in the State. Pagett made it known that EU and Federal Government of Nigeria had fulfilled all demand for the programme implementation pending State Government counterpart funding.
He however commended State Government’s concern for the programme, adding that his team would forward the request for extension of deadline but may not give guarantee on what will be the position of the international partners.