President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pledged that his administration will continue to implement policies and execute people-oriented projects that will better the lives of Nigerians.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project in Kaduna State, Buhari said the Federal Government, in spite of lean resources, spent N11.8 billion on the construction of the multipurpose 186.1 Million Cubic Meters Galma Dam as a contribution to the project.
”This project is the culmination of the joint efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Kaduna State Government, Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank.
”The multilateral nature of the funding for this project underscores the great importance the Kaduna State Government and the Federal Government attach to this project, which is designed to provide adequate water to the growing city of Zaria and its environs,” Buhari said.
While commending Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State for completing the water project which had hitherto languished for years, the President said: ‘‘I am aware that the governor undertook to offset all outstanding payments to the contractor in 2015 which led to the resumption of construction activities at the 150 Million Litres-per- day water treatment plant.’’
The President equally praised the Kaduna State government for demonstrating an appreciable commitment to development through people-oriented projects.
”To our multilateral partners, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank, we are grateful for your part in providing the needed funding to undertake and complete the transmission mains, service reservoirs, booster stations and distribution network.
”We could not have done it without your contributions. We are hopeful that this partnership will continue as we seek to reach out to other communities, cities and states in Nigeria to provide water facilities and other essential services,” he said.
Buhari challenged the Kaduna State Water Corporation, responsible for operating and maintaining the system, to live up to expectation, urging beneficiaries to be responsible citizens by ensuring vigilance over the facilities and payment for water consumed.
He noted that water infrastructure investments such as this one would serve for decades if they are well managed and well maintained.
”The project is partly funded by loans that will be repaid by coming generations. We should ensure that they are appreciative even as they continue to pay back the loans,” the President said.
The President had visited the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, who presented a horse to him as gift.
Also speaking at the event, El-Rufai said the project is another milestone in reversing the shortage of water in Zaria and ending the pain endured by the residents of the city.
He acknowledged former VP Namadi Sambo for initiating the project and the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, for his tireless advocacy for the project and his efforts to give Zaria people hope during the decades of water scarcity.
He said: “It is an honour to welcome you all to the ancient city of Zaria for this historic commissioning of Phase II of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project. It is another milestone in reversing the shortage of water in Zaria and ending the pain endured by the residents of the city.
“Mr. President, the people of Zaria are evidently delighted to see you. They have consistently provided you some of the biggest votes in your political area. It is only fitting that you are with them today to celebrate the restoration of public water supplies to Zaria.
“Anyone younger than 30 years who resides in Zaria has probably never seen water flow from the public grid. Thanks to the completion of the new water treatment plant in 2017 & the construction of transmission & distribution infrastructure, what was once a dream is now reality.
“Zaria Water Project aims to improve access to sustainable potable water in Zaria metropolis and its environs. Water is critical to human welfare and its availability in reliable and safe quantities helps economic and commercial activities, apart from improving health outcomes.”