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So low have we fallen that it is ‘pure water’ that has come to our rescue! (1)

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Pure Water- Image source pcghana

Pure Water- Image source pcghana

THIS year marks the end of the current international development agenda reached in year 2000, centered on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs encapsulate eight globally agreed goals in the areas of poverty alleviation, education, gender equality and empowerment of women, child and maternal health, environmental sustainability, reducing HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases, and building a global partnership for development.

For Nigeria, it has been 15 years of motion without movement. Based on perceivable scenarios, Nigeria would not achieve any of the goals.

In 2013, when the team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited the Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) to find out the country’s performance track towards achieving the MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, revealed that the three tiers of government spend about N3 trillion yearly as against the total sum of N4.3 trillion required to achieve the MDGs targets before the 2015 deadline. In a way, the SSA was preparing Nigerians’ mind that the lacuna of funding would be the albatross to achieving the MDGs.

From the goal one of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to goal eight of developing global partnership for development, Nigeria, despite her natural resources, human capital and ecological advantages, remains in dire need.

On the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index report of 2013, Nigeria was categorised as one of the African countries not recording remarkable improvement.

According to the report, Nigeria was ranked among countries with low development index at 153 out of 186 countries that were ranked.

Life expectancy in Nigeria is placed at 52 years while other health indicators reveal that only 1.9 per cent of the nation’s budget is expended on health.

The report asserts that 68.0 per cent of Nigerians are living below $1.25 daily while adult illiteracy rate for adult (both sexes) is 61.3 per cent.

Based on UNICEF data, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world. It is observed that preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria.

To crown it, the MO Ibrahim Index for African Governance, 2013 rated Nigeria 41st out of 52 African countries. What this meant is that government impacts minimally in the life of the citizens. As of today, one Dollar goes for N208 at Bureau De Change and with Nigeria’s monolithic crude oil at its lowest, corruption remaining endemic and there arises pressure in meeting basic social needs.

Even water, a supposedly common commodity acclaimed by the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, as having “no enemy”, in our ensuing failed state cannot be made available to all. The foregoing presents the case of a nation losing its soul.

A Millennium Development Goals Report in 2012, reported that 783 million people, or 11 per cent of the global population, remain without access to an improved source of drinking water. A good number of the figure not covered lives in Africa and Nigeria.

The 2012 report shows that 89 per cent of the world’s population was using improved drinking water sources, up from 76 per cent in 1990 and assumed that if the trends continue, 92 per cent of the global population will be covered by 2015.

But the African predicament might obstruct the target, many in sub-Sahara Africa do not have access to clean water, the Nigeria case is even more terrifying.

According to Water and Sanitation Media Network,” 35 million Nigerians still use open as their washroom; about 90 million are without access to safe drinking water, and 130,000 under-five Nigerian children die annually from preventable water-borne diseases.”

Between 2011 and now, the Millennium Development Goals office model costing says $2.5 billion (about N375 billion) is needed to meet the nation’s water and sanitation targets, the Federal Government noted that an extra N200 billion is further required to provide additional development in dams with hydropower components among others within the same period.

When the idea was presented in 2011, the Federal Government planned to fund the water roadmap via direct public and private sector financing, in which, budgetary appropriation as well as cost sharing arrangements with states, local councils and communities would be the public proposed fund-raising approach, while private funding will be accessed via multilateral credit, loans and internally generated revenue. That was the last heard of the water road map.

One of the most important milestones of world’s effort in making water available to all was the recognition in July 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly of the human right to water and sanitation.

The Assembly recognised the right of every human being to have access to sufficient water for personal and domestic uses (between 50 and 100 litres of water per person, per day), which must be safe, acceptable and affordable (water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income), and physically accessible (the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes). Going by the foregoing, it is criminal on the part of government not to make water available to all.

Despite this milestone, it is unfortunate to note that over 40 per cent of all the people in sub-Saharan Africa are without improved drinking water and are not in any way poised to meet the MDGs’ drinking water target this year.

Just last month, February 12, I came across an article, “Vote For WASH”, written by Greg Odogwu, where he noted that there are communities even in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where human beings drink from the same river as animals.

“They wash, bathe, and drink from the same lake where animals drink. And, side by side, they use the same “sanitary facility” with cattle. Their children fall sick of unknown illnesses and die. Yet, after every four years, politicians troop to these communities in their best campaign convoy with pomp and pageantry, making promises that will not be kept, until the next election when electioneering commences again.”  WASH is the generic acronym for Water Sanitation and Hygiene.

Early this year, Water Aid Nigeria and #Vote4WASH team began a social media campaign to #SaveKwalita community in Gwagwalada, Abuja. It is stated that in this community, there are about 600 children without water, sanitation, health centre and school.

For those who do not know, Abuja is the Federal Capital of Nigeria, the biggest economy/giant of Africa.
To be continued.

Mojeed-Sanni wrote from Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja. Twitter handle: SM_S0407


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