By Tosin Kolade
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, on Tuesday called on all stakeholders to take the Open Defecation-Free (ODF) campaign to grassroots.
Adamu who made this call at his valedictory meeting with journalists in Abuja, said all sensitisation campaigns ought to be people-centred.
According to him, current efforts to rid Nigeria of public defecation will gain more momentum when they are community-based.
He said there was need to move from conventional media channels of television and billboards, to traditional channels of radio and town criers, especially in rural communities.
“The ODF blueprint is ongoing, and we want the campaigns to be in the grassroots, using radio and other means.
“The ODF message must be community-based and people-centred, this will make current efforts have lasting impact”.
Speaking on his eight-year tenure at the ministry, Adamu said he had no regrets whatsoever, adding however, that his challenge was lack of insufficient revenue to carry out his mandate.
According to the minister, there is need for political support from states to cascade Federal Government’s policies to the people, who are the direct beneficiaries.
He also called for collective responsibility and ownership from all stakeholders, so that the huge investments in the sector would not go to waste.
On the National Water Resources Bill pending at the National Assembly, the minister said some people chose to politicise the provisions of the bill, adding that there was nothing new in its provisions, as 96 per cent of the contents were already existing.
He said that innovations in the reviewed bill included; the institutionalisation of an independent regulatory body to help reposition the water sector, to aid cost recovery and improve the irrigation sector.
“As a government, we are committed to our job to improve the lives of Nigerians, it’s on that basis that we are aggressive about the passage of the water bill”.
He however, expressed optimism that the 10th Assembly would pass the bill into law as it was targeted at repositioning the water resources sector in the country.
He stressed the need for alternative sources to fund the sector and its projects, saying they were capital-intensive and that the Federal government could not fund that alone.
The Director of Press and Public Relations, with the ministry, Kenechukwu Offie, who is also exiting along with the minister after 35 years of service, said leadership was not about title, but getting resources for the benefits of citizenry.
Offie thanked the minister, as well as her colleagues for their cooperation and support during her period in service.
Highlights of the event was the formal presentation of a book, ‘The President’s Water Minister 2015-2023 Milestones of Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu’, authored by Mrs Kenechukwu Offie. (NAN)