Saturday, 08 December 2012 00:00
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Geidam has his way to Yobe people's heart — Usman

Engineer Usman AhmedEngineer Usman Ahmed, (MNSE) is the General Manager, Yobe State Water Corporation. In this interview with YAHAYA WAKILI in his office in Damaturu, the state capital, Engineer Ahmed spoke on provision of water in the state and strategies which the Yobe State Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam FNCA, CPA adopt to improve the provision of potable water to the rural dwellers. He also enumerated some achievements of Governor Geidam within his 18 months in office.

AS General Manager of Yobe State Water Corporation, what are the problems and responsibility of your corporation?
Let me start by informing you that water corporation is one of the three agencies of the Yobe State Government which are responsible for water supply for human and livestock consumption in the state. The other two agencies are the Ministry oi water Resources, the mother Ministry which is responsible for policies and major capital projects, while the other one is the rural water supply and sanitation agency which is responsible for rural water supply and sanitation.

The Yobe State Water Corporation is responsible for the provision of water to other urban centers in the 21 area offices plus Gadaka, Yunusari and Goniri which have been turned into urban centers and due to the nature of the state which is rural in nature. Most of our urban centers are small villages when you compare to other states.

So the state water corporation is in charge of giving water to all urban centers in the 17 local Government, including the three towns as i mentioned earlier. But for Damaturu, being the state Headquarter, we divided it into two zones; we have zone A and zone B that makes the 21 area offices we have across the state.

So currently, we have 65 boreholes in Damaturu which are all fully functional and also we have 260 boreholes throughout the state and all ofthem are under the Water  Corporation. We extended our operating hours to three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening - six hours daily and constant supply of diesel to all the boreholes across the state. In similar vein the state water corporation expended the sum of N69, 181,000:00 for services, supply of diesel and maintenance of urban boreholes across the state.

In the past, there were problems of water scarcity in the urban areas. What measures have you taken to solve the problem?
You seen, first and foremost we all depend on diesel because Power Holding Company (PHCN) is no more. And even when we have light, it cannot operate our boreholes because if we try to operate our machine with the current power supply, it would burn our pumps. We solidly depend and operate on diesel and government provides diesel monthly to all our boreholes in the urban areas.

We also connect the water with pipes of different sizes which have been networked to about 20 kilometers to make water available and closer to its users across the state; so we are trying our best to see that all the urban centers in the state have access to clean water for both human and animal consumption.

What is the position of the Damaturu regional water supply project?
The Damaturu water supply projectis ongoing; you know His Excellency the Executive Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, is very much concerned about this Damauru water supply project. Now Yobe State Government has completely taken over the project from the Federal Government and awarded the well field A and service area for completion at the cost of 1.145 billion Naira and already paid the contractor the sum of N458 million.

Currently, the work is ongoing and very soon it will be completed. After completion of the field A and service area which have capacity for 6 mgln of water underground and lmgin overhead tank for distribution, the well field B and C will be awarded. So if this project is successfully completed Damaturu water supply problem is over as medium term measure and the long term is the construction of Katarko Dam.

In terms of providing social amenities for the people of Yobe State, how would you assess Governor Geidam since his re-election?
First of all, i have to acknowledge the fact that Governor Geidam has a very strong support from the citizens of the state, because of the sympathy he has for the people. On the provision of water, all the requests for water received approval and are promptly implemented in the water sector. You know nobody can be 100%, but Governor Geidam administration touched all the sectors within 18 months in office as a executive Governor of Yobe State.

Let us start from the water sector the place where i am, before the coming of Ibrahim Geidam as the Governor of Yobe State, most of urban boreholes had broken down, but now the problem of water scarcity in the state is over.

He put everything in order, he provided boreholes and motorized boreholes to the rural communities across the state.
In the health sector, Governor Geidam deserve commendation in that direction. The government's policy for free mosquito nets, free treatment for pregnant mothers and children between the age of 0-5 years and free accident treatment continues. All the general Hospitals in the state including Damaturu Specialist hospital, Potiskum, NGuru, Gashua and Geidam have been rehabilitated with new hospital equipment procured.

At the General Hospital Potiskum, government constructed Tabor ward, accident and emergency and at the General Hospital Fika, we have a maternity complex and the whole hospital has been renovated. In Damagum General Hospital, we have labor ward and five chalets for Doctors and nurses, 200 beds capacity hospital in Damaturu  have   been
completed and ready for commissioning.

In the Education sector, the Yobe State Government under the leadership of Governor Geidam has provided 58 utility vehicles for all secondary schools across the state, paid scholarship and bursary allowances to over 24,910 students of Yobe State origin studying in various educational institutions across the country.

In addition to the boarding primary school being built in all the 17 Local Government Areas and also several other schools were rehabilitated to provide the kind of environment needed for great teaching and learning. Apart from these, he is also fencing six Government Girls Schools which was not done since the school was established during the second republic.

In the Agricultural Sector, government established the state strategic grains reserve program aimed at encouraging farmers to Eroduce more and get etter price over and above the cost of production. Last  year, government purchased over 11,700 ags of assorted grains, which include millet and maize and sold it to the public at the cost of N1000 per bag instead of N8000 at the open market and also government provided subsidised fertilizers and tractors.

On housing, The Geidam's Administration considered the provision of shelter especially for the civil servant as one of its top priority; over 1500 housing units have been constructed and also awarded the contract of the construction of 300 housing units along Gujba - Maiduguri ring road which is completed and ready for commissioning. The houses will be provided to workers at 65% discount.

On roads, he has awarded the contract for the construction and rehabilitation of nine roads across the state, which included the rehabilitation of Maidua - Gadaka 13KM road, construction of Potiskum - Danchuwa road, construction of the 109KM Kaliyari -Bayamari - Geidam road, rehabilitation of the 155KM Gashua -Jakusko - Potiskum road, construction of Geidam - Yunusari road Nguru - Machina road, and Gashua Yusufari road which is a Federal road among others and all these just within 18 months.

What advice do you have for water consumers in the state?
Water consumers in the state should always pay their water rates promptly and people should not use water anyhow. People should help the government by paying their water bill promptly so that government will help them by providing them with the clean water for both human and animal consumption.

Whenever there is any problem with their pumps, let them report to the water corporation immediately. Either during the working days or not, we ready to serve the people of Yobe State better at any time. Yobe State Government is charging the least in water rate throughout the country, so i use this medium to call on the people of the state to ensure proper handling of infrastructure facilities provided to them by the government.

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