Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade has said his administration is committed to the ‘Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH’, programme, while also promising that he would ensure that the state becomes the first in Nigeria to attain the Open Defecation Free status.
Ayade made this known while speaking at the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, yesterday, in Calabar, when he received in audience, a delegation of funding agencies led by Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Dr Ibrahim Conteh.
He listed the benefits of potable water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa, while adding that he understood the value of hygiene and clean water.
He said: “We have a commitment on a global stage, Mandela 100, where Cross River State made a commitment that we will provide $3 million annually for the next five years, in support of WASH 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 a 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 per cent Open Defecation Free status.”
“It’s a commitment that I am giving now, and I will uphold it with every fibre of my being. In making this commitment, I am conscious of the financial implication.”
Commending UNICEF for the various successes achieved so far in the area of water sanitation, Governor Ayade disclosed that eighty per cent of diseases in Africa is water related.
He said, “Let me thank you for all the various successes you have achieved in this water, sanitation and hygiene sector. 80 per cent of diseases in Africa is water related. Of these diseases, the greatest and the most implicated source of disease are as a result of indiscriminate defecation in and around the neighbourhood.”