The Managing Director, Lagos Water Corporation (LWC), Muminu Badmus, has charged secondary school students to come up with innovations to address water, sanitation and hygiene issues in the state.
Badmus gave the charge during the Grand Finale and Maiden Annual Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Essay Competition held Wednesday at Victoria Island, Lagos.
The event organised by the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) in collaboration with LWC was part of activities to mark World Water Day. It had in attendance over 80 schools and representatives from six education districts in Lagos. A total of seven students received awards at the event.
In the senior category, Chioma Joseph, SS2 student of Keke Senior High School, Ifako Ijaye, clinched the overall best position while Vetland Senior Grammar School’s Olaoluwa Olaniyan came second. In third place were Oyewole Egunjobi of Ayangburen Senior High School and Josephine Hunpe of Lagos State Senior Model College, Kankon Badagry.
In the Junior Secondary category, Chisom Ezeanya, Lagos State Junior Model College Ojo came first; Esther Ajileye, Eva Adelaja Junior Girls Secondary School came second while Blessing Nwabueze of District Junior College Agege, came third.
The winners were given laptops and other educational gift items while some schools also received cash donations.
While lauding the students for their participation, the managing director said analytical skills would help the students to become game changers and pledged continuous support for the essay competition.
He urged secondary school students to keep participating in the competition to boost their knowledge, exposure and get important research skills to become solution providers.
Badmus cited the example of Ansar-udeen Grammar School, ‘ADGS’ Surulere which invented a water Filtration and Purification system a few years ago, which won them the Nigerian Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
He said that the winners went on to represent Nigeria later that year in Sweden and were commended for their innovation.
By asking the right questions, you can develop analytical skills and Investigate effects by digging deep into their causes.
“When you know the cause of a problem, the solution would easily fall on our laps,” he said.
During her remarks, the National Chairman, NIMechE, Funmilade Akingbagbohun, said the competition was organised to address a lacuna in the space of water sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria and engineering is about problem solving.
She thanked the Lagos State Water Corporation for supporting the programme, and commended all the six education districts that participated.
The chairman said 20 out of 80 schools qualified for the grand finale, with seven emerging as winners.
She said all hands must be on deck for effective collaboration towards achieving a clean environment.
Also at the event was Adetola Salau, senior special assistant to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on STEM Education who empathised with the need for creative ways for water conservation.
According to Salau about 1,000 children die daily from bad water, sanitation and hygiene.
Salau urged the students to create prototypes on ideas they have toward solving problems in their communities.
Meanwhile, the guest speaker, Cherish Jefferson, said the problems of water, which is also a key component of the United Nations sustainable Goals, required multi-sectoral solutions because it impacts every sector and segment of life.
Jefferson called for collective action towards conserving water to mitigate the impact of climate change.
“Simple action like turning off a tap is important,” she said.