By Peter Ejiofor
Lagos – As the world commemorates World Water Day, the Managing Director and CEO of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, says the company recognises and respects the fact that water is a fundamental human right.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for this year’s commemoration is “ Leaving no one Behind’’.
“Everyone has the right to water, no matter where they are. Individuals and families need water for drinking, personal and household hygiene, laundry and cooking among other needs.
“In line with Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, we work alongside other stakeholders to provide access to clean safe drinking water to those who live closest to our operations.
“As we reflect on the theme for World Water Day, we reiterate our commitment to improving livelihoods in our communities,’’ he said in his speech to observe the Day on Friday.
NAN reports that as part of the activities to commemorate the World Water Day, Nestle said it had strong belief that water is essential, and that it had been at the forefront of actions to provide clean safe water in the communities close to its factories.
“This is in line with its purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.
“The company works alongside government and other stakeholders to improve livelihoods in the communities where it operates by Creating Shared Value (CSV) for everyone across its value chain.
“One of the focus areas is water — from facilities close to Agbara, Flowergate and Abaji factories, over 7,117,500 liters reach more than 6,600 people annually.
“With the inauguration of four additional community water facilities in Areke, Bara, Owode Egba and the Alamala Military Barracks all in Ogun State today, 7,500 more people will have access to clean, safe drinking water.
“This is significant in view of this year’s theme for World Water Day,’’ a statement by the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department of Nestle said.
Nestle noted that water is an essential part of life, a basic need in every home but as important as water is to life, access to safe drinking water remained a challenge across the world, including Nigeria.
It noted that the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the government of Nigeria in 2016/2017, estimated that in the rural areas, 19 million people walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers. It said that at the inauguration of the community water projects, Mr Ibukun Ipinmoye, Nestlé Flowergate Factory Manager, said: “Today is very significant for us as it is another step towards ensuring that everyone in our community has access to clean, safe water for their basic daily needs.
“We are confident that these four new water facilities will go a long way towards reducing the burden of families who had to travel long distances to find water.’’
At the handover of Nawair-Ud-Deen (NUD) Primary School project in Owode Local Government Area, the Executive Chairman of Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Abdul-Jeleel Okewole, represented by the Deputy Director Quality Assurance, Mrs Agbatiogun Jokotade, commended Nestlé Nigeria for its continued commitment to the development of the community.
He also encouraged the beneficiaries to take care of the new facilities to ensure that they serve them for a long time.
The NUD school project comprises a renovated block of classrooms and head teacher’s office, a new block of toilets, a fully equipped playground and a borehole with a handwashing station.
Nestlé Nigeria Plc began simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company.
Nestlé Nigeria is the biggest food company in West Africa, employing about 2,300 people and has three world-class factories.
Nestlé Nigeria manufactures and markets a range of high quality brands, including NESTLÉ PURE LIFE, GOLDEN MORN, MILO.