PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari recently declared a state of emergency on water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector in the country.
HE made the declaration while inaugurating the National Action Plan for Revitalization of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
DESCRIBING statistics on open defecation as disturbing, President Buhari stated that the declaration has become imperative to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in the country, which has caused preventable deaths.
WATER Aid Nigeria during this year’s Hand Washing Day on October 15 disclosed that no fewer than 60,000 children below five years die yearly of diarrhea in the country.
THE organization linked the problem to dirty water and poor hygiene. It advised governments to prioritize promotion of hand washing and sanitation to save lives.
BUHARI while declaring state of emergency on water directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs, assuring that “henceforth, Federal Government’s support to States will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective States and effort to end open defecation by 2025.
ACCESS to pipe-borne water services which according to Federal Government was 32% in 1990 has reduced to 7% in 2015, just as access to improved sanitation has decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015.
BUHARI laments that Nigeria now ranks second in the global rating on open defecation as “about 25% of Nigeria’s population practise open defecation.
”WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46% of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70% of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27% in 2015 which is far below the 0.70% at the West African regional level.”
WATER is life. A man can do without food for days, but he cannot do without water for days. Food is for the stomach, but water is used for many things which is why government invests in its provision.
THE United Nations General Assembly recognises drinking water and sanitation as human rights, meaning everyone must have access to them. Water is an essential commodity.
THE World Bank, describes ”water scarcity as a major threat to economic growth and stability around the world”. Sadly climate change is worsening the problem. It is therefore a commendable development that Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has since inception of his administration priotitised water provision for residents of the state.
THE recent effort of his government in that direction is Kamomi Aketi water scheme being assessed by no fewer than 30,000 communities in the 18 local government areas in the three senatorial districts of the state.
A lack of drinking water can result in a number of problems. Diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and others are the direct evidences of unwholesome water.
SIMILARLY, water is a good solvent if it contains dissolved poisonous substances, it will cause problems to the public. Therefore, water which is to be supplied to the public should be wholesome and must be free from germs.
THE HOPE commends the Ondo State government for the bold step taken to alleviate the suffering of the people to access safe water.
WE urge state governments to complement efforts towards sustainable water provision by according the sector similar recognition to achieve the targets for WASH by 2030.
We equally call on the federal government to generously support states in their efforts to boost water supply in their states and faithfully implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is the present administration’s blueprint for infrastructure and economic development.
AS human and material resources are being mobilised in providing social amenities for comfort of people, we urge beneficiaries to ensure proper maintenance of the social amenities and exhibit friendly disposition towards them, treating them as personal properties.
TO who much is given, much is expected.
MORE importantly, we call on our tertiary institutions, particularly the technically oriented ones to venture into designing and local, fabrication of equipment for water production and materials for treating water.
SUCH efforts will reduce cost of access to good water in the society.