Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says efforts must be geared towards improving water sanitation and hygiene, in all parts of the country, to improve the living conditions of the people.
He is therefore calling on stakeholders in the water sector to collaborate, to enable the country achieve her targets in water sanitation.
The Vice President was speaking at the unveiling of the country’s policy documents on water sanitation and irrigation, at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
He said the Ministry of Water Resources did the right thing by developing the national policies on water sanitation and irrigation alongside that of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene PEWASH.
Professor Osinbajo noted that if not properly managed, water can have a devastating effect on both humans and the environment. He said government will continue to do more especially among rural dwellers.
“Statistics show that over 66 million Nigeria still lack access to safe water. Consequently large numbers of children under the age of five die annually form cholera related diseases and these are mostly traceable to unsafe drinking water. The situation is even more depressing in the rural areas where polluted ponds and streams are the only sources of water for drinking and other household chores. This trend must change,” he said.
He said although the country has achieved sixty nine percent success on water supply and twenty nine on sanitation, a lot more needs to be done to boosts government’s drive for self sufficiency in food production.
The Vice President said the PEWASH programme was an important one that can help attain rural water supply and sanitation.
“Through this well structured framework for project delivery, it is expected that the implementation of PEWASH will help to attain our targets of increased rural water supply, sanitation, public health as well as expected positive impact on economic growth and human development,” Professor Osinbajo stated.
Professor Osinbajo encouraged State and Local Governments to embrace the programme.
He commended the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu for his practice of policy driven initiatives, which he said can help ensure sustainable attainment of results.
The well attended programme was graced by the Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu and two Deputy Governors.