The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo has made it known that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on course to attain increased rural supply of water and better sanitation in the country.
The Guardian reports that Prof. Osinbajo stated this while speaking in Abuja on Monday at the public presentation of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) and the unveiling of the National Water and National Irrigation Policies developed by the Ministry of Water Resources.
Referring to the new set of policies, Osinbajo, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, last night said: “By this, the ministry is provided with the overarching framework which will guide the activities of all stakeholders in the sector in the wake of our renewed focus on agriculture as a revenue earner and contributor to our GDP and importantly, the development of our irrigation infrastructure.”
PEWASH will provide a new collaborative and systematic approach to the achievement of an increased universal access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services involving all the relevant stakeholders from the beneficiary communities, local government areas, state governments, development partners, donor agencies, the organized private sector and the Federal Government.’’
According to the Vice President, “It will also take cognizance of special groups such as the vulnerable and people living with disabilities with a well-structured framework for project delivery.’’
Prof. Osinbajo added that with the new framework, “we hope to attain our targets of increased rural water supply and sanitation and health as well as make positive impact on economic growth and human development.’’
He however emphasized the need for a stronger collaboration and synergy among stakeholders in the water resources sector if Nigeria was to attain its targets of increased rural water supply and sanitation as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said: “It is also a well-known fact that Nigeria did not achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation.
Some of the reasons adduced for this include primarily, the lack of effective coordination among stakeholders and the inability to harness the required funds.
I encourage all stakeholders especially the states and local governments to participate in this crucial initiative and commit to its success so that our common development goals as a nation will be achieved.’’
In addition, The Guardian reports that the Vice President said there were gaps in access to water and sanitation especially in rural Nigeria that required urgent attention, stressing that efforts by previous governments in addressing the challenge had not yielded much with 69% and 29% water supply and sanitation attainment figures respectively.
According to him, “about 150,000 children under the age of 5 die annually from diarrhea-related diseases that are mostly traceable to unsafe drinking water.’’
He said: “the situation is even more depressing in the rural areas where polluted ponds and streams remain the only source of water for drinking and other household chores.
This is still a far cry from what is needed. Indeed, within an ever increasing population and a drive to self-sufficiency in food production, the demand for water supply and sanitation service will continue to increase thereby requiring an innovative and holistic approach towards closing the access gaps.’’
Prof. Osinbajo expressed optimism that the new water and irrigation policies and the PEWASH programme would provide the necessary framework for comprehensively addressing the challenges posed by lack of water.
The Guardian reports that Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, earlier in his presentation at the event, pledged the commitment of state governors to work with the Federal Government and other stakeholders in addressing challenges posed by water resources management in Nigeria.
In addition, The Guardian reports that the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu said the ministry had recorded tremendous achievements in efforts to reposition the water resources sector.
He listed some of the achievements as developing a framework for the commercialization of the river basins and the enhancement of partnerships aimed at moving the sector forward.
The minister said the target of PEWASH is to improve public hygiene and tackle poverty through improved water resources management in Nigeria.
Source: The Guardian