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The Ogun State Government has commenced inspection of drinking water and bagged water plants to ensure that they meet set standards and to guide them in preventing cholera outbreak.

The Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya, disclosed this yesterday in Abeokuta at a stakeholders’ meeting attended by the Ogun State chapter of the Drinking Water and Beverage Producers Association of Nigeria (DWAPAN), as well as officials of the Ministries of Environment, Health, Industry and Trade.
Oresanya said the compliance exercise was necessary to address the environmental issues identified in the production process, which were inconsistent with the previous certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), leading to cholera outbreaks and casualties.

Oresanya said the state government would carry out compliance work in all the 20 boards to strengthen and localize NAFDAC certification. “The panel will, among other things, request for the results of routine microbiological analysis of the products, check the distance of their production boreholes from septic tanks, operating environment and medical certification of the products’ fitness for human consumption,” he said.

Oresanya said the compliance exercise would address the environmental and hygiene deficiencies found in its manufacturing process, which is at variance with the earlier certification by the National Food and Drug Administration (NFDA) that led to an outbreak of cholera that claimed a number of lives and hospitalized others.

As a responsible government, Oresanya said the state government would carry out a compliance exercise in 20 boards across the state to strengthen and consolidate its NAFDAC accreditation as the team would travel to all water production plants to carry out on-site assessment of their production processes.

“The team will, among other things, request for the results of routine microbiological analysis of their products, inspection of the distance of their production boreholes from septic tanks, the environment in which they operate as well as medical certificates of the fitness of their products for human consumption.
“For the sake of clarity, all registered and unregistered water production plants will be visited and any plant that fails to pass the compliance inspection will be shut down until it passes through the stipulated process before it is opened for business in the interest of the public,” he added.

Oresanya therefore appealed to these plants to support the compliance exercise as the state government is not out to persecute any of these plants but to protect the health of its residents from preventable water borne diseases and to set a health standard for its products which have been negatively endorsed by the public following the outbreak of the diseases.

Responding, the Chairman of the Ogun State Chapter of the Drinking Water and Beverage Producers Association of Nigeria (DWBPAN), Mr. Femi Olukoga, pledged the support of his members for the exercise, saying that it would help the body to sanitize its ranks and rid itself of quacks, whose activities were not conducive to the well-being of the residents of the state.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, has said that the Federal Government will persevere in bridging the gap in access to potable water across Nigeria.

The Minister said this in his opening address at the 13th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association of Hydrological Sciences (NAHS) held at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka.

The theme of the conference and annual general meeting is: “Water, Environment and Society”. Speaking on behalf of the minister, the Managing Director, Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, Femi Odumosu, noted that the globe was experiencing unprecedented water scarcity and asked the forum to continue to carry out research on water resources to bridge the gap between science and humanity.

Utsav noted that climate change in the form of drought had greatly affected the availability of water for human consumption and other uses.
He said: “Water is vital for life and livelihoods, and it is vital for the economy. Without water, meaningful global development is not possible.

In her comments, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UoL), Mrs. Folasade Ogunsola, said she was delighted that the association had made the University of Lagos the preferred venue for the event.
The Vice Chancellor was represented at the event by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Lagos, Prof. Obanishola Sodiq, who described the conference as crucial to the current development of the country and the world at large.

Earlier, the President of the Nigerian Association of Hydrological Sciences (NAHS), Prof. David Jimoh, said the multidisciplinary association was committed to advancing the knowledge of hydrology and water resources in Nigeria.

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