Borno, WaterAid Advocate for Water Policy In Northeast
The WaterAid Country Director, Michael Ojo has said that 46 million people don’t have access to potable clean water in Nigeria.
According to him, about 118 people also don’t have decent toilets to halt open defecation in most of the 36 states.
Ojo raised the alarm at the weekend in Maiduguri; during a stakeholders’ dialogue to meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the water sector.
Ojo; represented by WaterAid Head of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Adebayo Alao; said: “We’re advocating Government expansion of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services in risk communities of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.”
According to him, the target of WaterAid was to reach six million people with access to hand washing facilities.
He warned that 80,000 children under five die each year in the country.
On WASH’s cost benefit analysis, he said: “The price of water from vendors is 28-40 times the cost of an in house water connection,” noting that the provision of potable water could save women and girls 77 working days a year, while fetching water for the households.
He said that upgrading to safely managed services could also free 122 working days a year.
Alao added that investing in universal access to WASH could yield massive economic gains in two decades.
He suggested that the facilities be at health and public centres in the Northeast region.
While lamenting inaccessibility to water supply, he said: “Hand washing is a key defense against coronavirus (COVID-19),” warning that over 46 million people still live without sources of clean potable water.
He noted that with about less than 50 percent of the population having decent toilets; the country has a great task ahead to save people’s lives.
“The 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) should install the right sanitation systems,” he declared.
Meanwhile, WaterAid; he added, has renewed its efforts to reach people who are in dire need of essential services to protect lives against diseases, like cholera, Lassa fever and COVID-19.
Speaking on WASH, he said that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene services transform people’s lives with improved livelihoods.
In sustaining WASH, he said: “To make these basic needs normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation, we must keep taps running with toilets working to reinvigorate good hygiene behaviours.”
He said these are the means to bring a lasting change across the country that could improve millions of lives in communities.
“Powerful voices of women and youths, including traditional and religious institutions are helping us stop open defecation not only in the Northeast, but the entire country by 2025,” he said.
The WASH specialist, Dare Oduluyi reiterated that a strong political will of governments could drive the process.
He said that the adopted process should be implemented with guiding principles and rules of reform in the water sector.