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Buhari declares state of emergency on water, sanitation, urges states to follow suit


President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: BAYO OMOBORIOWO

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared a state of emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.The President said the declaration has become imperative to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which, according to him, has caused preventable deaths.

Buhari, who spoke while inaugurating the National Action Plan for Revitalisation of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at the State House Conference Centre, directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.He described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country as ‘’disturbing’’, warning that henceforth, Federal Government’s support to state governments will be based on their commitment to implement the national WASH action plan in their respective states and to end open defecation by 2025.

‘’Access to piped water services which was 32 per cent in 1990 has declined to seven per cent in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38 per cent in 1990 to 29 per cent in 2015.‘’Our country now ranks No. 2 in the global rating on open defecation as about 25 per cent of our population are practising open defecation.

‘’WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46 per cent of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70 per cent of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27 per cent in 2015, which is far below the 0.70 per cent at the West African regional level,’’ he said.

Besides, the President reiterated that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of state and local governments.‘’However, these are not being given the required attention judging from the high prevalence of water-borne diseases that are being reported in different parts of the country.

‘’We cannot and will not continue to allow these preventable occurrences to decimate our population,’’ he said.He pledged that his administration would continue to place priority on infrastructure development, including water supply, sanitation and hygiene services towards ensuring a better life for Nigerians.

According to him, this is being demonstrated through faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is the present administration’s blueprint for infrastructure and economic development.

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Muhammadu Buhari‎
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