Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Following the partial lockdown of the state as a result of the novel COVID-19 global pandemic, the Taraba State government on Saturday said it has concluded plans to hire water tankers and deploy them to local government headquarters to supply water to the people of the State in the hinterlands where access to portable water is a challenge.
The General Manager, Taraba Water and Sewerage Corporation, Engr. Buba Siem who disclosed this at a media chat with journalists in Jalingo said that this was part of measures taken by the state government to mitigate the impact of the partial and probably, total lock down to forestall the outbreak of the pandemic in the state.
Siem told journalists during the media chat organised by a non-governmental organisation Youth Progressive Association in Taraba (TYPA) that government was considering the decision to address the plight of the people.
“This is part of the decision taken recently during a stakeholders’ meeting on how to respond to a total shutdown should the virus get to the state.
“A technical committee has been put in place to address the concern of stakeholders and I can assure you that this decision is already on the table because people will need more water when they are forced to stay at home.”
He commended the assistance being rendered by USAID/E-WASH in the water and sanitation sector of the State, saying a lot has been achieved in the water sector through the intervention of USAID.
He announced that 29 sanitation facilities have been put in place so far to check open defecation and called on the public to make good use of toilet facilities and other infrastructure for a clean environment and a healthy society.
Mr. Julius Butu, Director, Taraba State Environmental Protection Agency (TEPA), on his part said efforts were being put in place to ensure the environmental cleanliness of the state to mitigate the spread of airborne diseases.
“The ministry of environment will unbundle waste management to ensure that private sector comes in to help in enlightening the people about waste management as government alone can not effectively manage waste given the increase growth in the population,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Boniface Koson the CEO of Youth Progressive Association in Taraba (TYPA) and the State Coordinator of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) said the media chat was aimed at tracking progress being made by the State in terms of water supply and sanitation especially at the time the people were being advised to stay at home for fear of COVID-19.