The Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello recently appointed Engineer Tauheed Abayomi Amusan, the General Manager, FCT Water Board. An astute Professional with decades of experience in the field, in this interview with Abuja Digest’s Victoria Agorom and Salamatu Aminu, he spoke extensively on his vision for the Board and other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Abuja Digest: The mandate of the Board is solely to provide safe, adequate and affordable water supply to the Territory. What is your vision to ensure that the Board continue to meet these mandates?
Amusan: I wouldn’t like to first of all thank my main Principal for appointing me as the General Manager, FCT Water Board. I have had a long career in FCDA/FCTA, I joined in 1991 and served in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources as a Special Assistant and now back here.
I can only express profound gratitude to him for finding me worthy to lead the FCT Water Board at this critical time.
And of course a lot of trust comes with it and that trust I take it very seriously. I will try my best to deliver on the mandate of the FCT Water Board.
Having said that, FCT Water Board’s mandate is very clear; to provide portable water in adequate quantity to the residents of FCT and since the last two weeks I resumed what I did was to do a familiarization tour to take briefs.
And it became very clear to me that we are not optimal, we are on a rescue mission. A lot of system are sub-optimal but the good thing is that even before I came, some steps have been taken. Infact, my coming is part of the steps to improve the system because FCT Water Board now has the FCT Water Board Establishment Act, 2017 and it is on the effort to professionalize that Act that am coming on board.
That is more work in the next few months to bring to fruition. My vision is to employ the best instrument to change the narratives. Technology is number one, to use technology to change the system. If you use technology and it is optimal, because ours is a technical Agency.
Starting from the dam, the treatment plant, the retriculatio tanks, they are all technical.
Then the engineering aspects, so you have to deploy technology to every thing you do in it you have deploy technology so as to operate at a high optimal efficiency.
The second vision is about the people, the people make a lot of difference, once you have the people with right orientation, right mindset, you can go far. May be you can go fast if you go lonely but you can only go far if you go as a team.
So, I intend to build a strong team that would deliver on the mandate of the FCT Water Board.
My third vision, is to put a lot of premium on the customers because we are here to serve the customers of Abuja. So, there opinions and everything about them is very important and so we need to engage them properly. It is only when you engage them properly that you can change the revenue character because if you don’t engage them properly, you might not get the right response from them.
So, technology, the people and the customers, these are my vision.
Abuja Digest: You talked about the people; that is your staff and relating it to the deployment of technology as you said capacity building is needful, are looking in that direction?
Amusan: Training is what you cannot do without, it is non-negotiable. You have to train and re-train and train the trainers. When I went to the treatment phases 3&4 I saw a few things that made believe that those things have been operating optimally and it arose from poor capacity. If people are trained their capacity will improve and be able to do things the right way.
You must have a critical mass of professionals that have the capacity to maintain whatever you have. Either at the dam, treatment plant or the tanks, you must have some amounts of capacity, so you have to train them. Our vision is to have a world class service Agency. And that wise you must have a well trained personnel and workers.
And you should also deploy technology because you want to to take the lead on global best practices. So knowledge is key, capacity building is key and passion is key.
Abuja Digest: The Greater Abuja Water Supply was conceived to ensure water supply to all parts of the Territory, when will we say it is Uhuru for this project?
Amusan: Abuja is designed in phases, 1,2,3&4 and these phases the water supply is also in loops, that is major main reticulation. We have two loops which are in phase one that is loop 3 & 4. That is the first loop that was built when the first treatment plant was built.
The Greater Abuja is in loop 1&6 and loop 2&5 that is phase 2 & 3 and the last loop of 7 & 8. These are just to take water to two districts.
The plan for Greater Abuja is to supply water to additional 50 districts. If you see water in phase 2 that means some arrangements have been made to get water from phase 3 & 4. If you increase our customers catchment and it is true, Greater Abuja will supply water to all parts of Abuja.
Though there are other services that comes with the project.
Abuja Digest: When we talk about residents, are the grassroots inclusive knowing very well that they stand the risk of contracting waterborne diseases?
Amusan: The Abuja water supply is in different compartment; the Federal Capital City and the Federal Capital Territory. The Federal Capital Cityis what the Lower Usuma is designed for. Remember we have RUWASSA for rural water and we have the area councils regional water supply in Abaji and there will be more in other area councils.
Water is a very important commodity that one cannot do without, it is actually life and sanitation is integrity, you can hardly do without water. So every part of the City must have water and we are not leaving anyone behind. Our mission and vision is to make sure everybody in FCT has access to portable water. The work is in bits but in progress.
Abuja Digest: What is the time line for the Greater Abuja Water Project?
Amusan: I believe it would be completed within the next six to nine months but for it to be effective there are other complimentary projects that are tied to it and that is when you will get the full benefits of the project.
Abuja Digest: Curtailing wastages is a huge challenge to the Board, how do you intend to ensure that wastages are optimally minimized?
Amusan: In today’s Abuja we have water leakages in excess of five to fifteen percent. Now efforts are being made to reduce this. The first thing is to detect the leakage points and that is being done now at the Lower Usuma Dam to detect the leakages and where. This is where technology comes in, Like I told you technology is very crucial and we are employing technology to ensure leakages are minimized.