The provision of adequate electricity and enough safe water, are not negotiable, if Nigeria dreams of becoming a great nation will become real in the nearest future. Meeting the millennium development goals in these areas will demand conscious involvement of women at all levels Nigerian women under the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) have urged involvement of its members in the nation’s drive towards improving electricity and water provision.
The women at an event in Lagos to mark the 2015 International Women’s Day (IWD), unanimously agreed that though the nation has been making efforts to overcome the constraints to solving the problem of power and water provision, it was, however, regrettable that majority of women engineers are not involved in the process.
At the hall of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), APWEN Lagos Chapter chairman, Mrs. Muili Nimot, while addressing her colleagues justified why the group chose to speak a theme: “APWEN Women -Driving Socio-Economic Development in Power and Water Engineering”, which among others sought to celebrate past accomplishments, and at same time looking ahead to the untapped potentials and opportunities that await future generations of women. But, she said statistics has shown that at the moment, about 35 per cent of women occupy key positions in various ministries, departments and agencies in Nigeria, leaving the men folk vying for more positions in politics.
On the challenge of water, Muili said: ‘Today as in the past of the world economic history, water resources development and management remain at the heart of the struggle for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing and underdeveloped countries of the world as contained in the Millennium Development goals of the United Nations. There are indications that the world is facing a growing water crisis, affecting the wellbeing of millions of the poorest people.
‘The challenge to us all as women engineers is tackling the problem of rapidly growing populations, urbanization, agricultural intensification and climate change, as these contribute immensely to competition for and scarcity of water resources. ‘The role of women cannot be overemphasized as public and community water management sector, is male-dominated and these do not see the urgency to address the water crisis and cannot directly identify themselves with the difficulties faced by women –the primary users.’
Just like the water, APWEN chairman said the electricity demand in Nigeria far outstripped the supply and the available supply was epileptic in nature. According to her, Nigeria is faced with acute electricity problems, which is hindering its development notwithstanding the availability of vast natural and human resources in the country, adding that, it was widely accepted that “there is strong correlation between the socio-economic development of a country and the availability of electricity, Nigeria is no exception.” Nigeria is a blessed with a lot of resources that can be used to generate electricity such as coal, natural gas, oil, hydro and other renewable energy sources.
In her paper, Head, Supply Chain Management, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs. B.O. Dada, said since every country’s agenda was to improve the quality of life and standard of living of its populace, then, the place of adequate power supply cannot be compromised, as it was one of the surest ways for any nation to develop her socio-economy.
According to her, no nation develops socio-economically or moves up the Human Development Index ladder without adequate improvement in its power supply infrastructure. The Procurement Officer/Contract manager -Lagos Water Corporation (LSWC), Mrs. Titilola Bright-Oridami, noted that water serves as one of the most essential elements of human life. It is an integral part in the functionality of the human body, assisting digestion and others. All plants and animals must have water to survive.