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‘Nigeria Loses N455bn To Poor Sanitation’

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WaterAid, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), says Nigeria loses N455 billion of its GDP to poor sanitation annually, with other stakeholders, including a top government official and a health expert, concurring.

The organisation’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Michael Ojo disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

“Not having access to clean water and good hygiene for us as a country, is costing us N455 billion every year from our Gross Domestic Product; so water and sanitation work for our economy.

“Good sanitation promotes health because if people don’t have access to clean water and use contaminated water, they get sick.

“It costs us a lot of money as a country to treat illnesses that we could prevent if we invest in the right facility,” Ojo said.

He also noted that good water and sanitation facilities would promote education because it is detrimental to any child’s future to use school hours in search of water.

Reacting on the economic impact of poor sanitation on the country, the Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources,Dr Obioha Agada confirmed that the Federal Government lost “huge’’ amount of money due to poor sanitation culture.

Agada said: “A recent report had shown that inadequate water and poor sanitation costs the Nigerian economy N444 billion naira yearly.

“Poor sanitation not only contributes to environmental degradation, but also contributes significantly to the pollution of water; destroys fishes and the business of fishermen and adds to the cost of safe water.

“We are not relenting on our part to ensure a sustainable environment because presently the reports we get in the field show that the percentage of people with improved sanitation is increasing by the day,’’ he said.

He further said that national and state Task Groups on Sanitation were doubling efforts to improve sanitation at the grassroots.

On her part, the Executive Director, Women Environment Programme (WEP), Mrs Priscilla Achakpa, urged the Federal Government to properly capture sanitation in the constitution to boost development.

“It is rather unfortunate that the issue of sanitation has not been on the front burner of the Nigerian government both in terms of policy and programming until recently.

“Government should adequately capture sanitation in the federal constitution in order to improve the country’s development.

She advocated for waste management strategies that could would accrue economic benefits for the country and increase the country’s GDP per capita.

According to her, these strategies would enhance the capacity of Nigerians, thereby reducing poverty, and providing good sustenance of livelihoods for sustainable development.

“It is an understatement to state that Nigeria is losing such a huge economic benefit from the development and management of sanitation and waste.’’

“Solid and liquid waste can be used to create wealth and job opportunities for the thousands of unemployed Nigerian youths.

“It will reduce environmental and health hazards, especially in urban and rural communities and generate economic activities such as biomass, electricity through waste as it’s being done in other countries like India,” she said.

Echoing similar views, Nigeria’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Ambassador, Ms Ebele Okeke argued that if sanitation issues were tackled properly, the country would have a healthy workforce which would in turn ensure speedy development of all sectors.

Okeke emphasised the need for proper hygiene measures, through the construction of toilets and water points in schools and public places.

According to her, investing in sanitation could yield more than a 100 per cent profit.

In separate interviews with newsmen, residents of Karu, Nyanya and Garki said that indiscriminate disposal of waste in neighbourhoods due to the lack of dump sites, exposed them to all manner of health challenges.

When approached on the issue, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board said that the misuse of bins and poor hygiene attitude of residents were responsible for poor sanitation in the FCT.

Head, Information and Outreach Programme of the board, Mr Joseph Ukairo,  noted that the board replaced the monthly sanitation with house -to- house inspection in order to check the trend.

He recalled that in the 1970s when sanitary inspectors conducted house-to-house’ inspections, various diseases noticeable today were not rampant.

He, therefore, cautioned residents to dispose their refuse properly and imbibe hygiene culture, especially in satellite towns, to reduce funds spent on waste management.

Also speaking, a health officer with the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board (PHCDB), Mrs Aisha Bakpet  proposed the “Community-Led Total Sanitation” approach to communities that still practised open defecation.

She urged them to construct latrines in order to reduce diseases to help save money for their communities and the country at large.

In the same vein, a medical practitioner at the Nyanya General Hospital, Dr Chika Agu,  said that poor sanitation and water services slowed health improvements in the country.

“ Hundreds of patients flood the hospitals daily for malaria, typhoid, and dysentery treatment because of poor sanitary conditions at home and in the workplace.

According to a 2010 data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics on sanitation, only 9.4 per cent of the country’s waste were satisfactorily disposed, while 90.6 per cent of refuse were haphazardly disposed .

The bureau also recorded 42.5 per cent of safe water for drinking and cooking 57.5 per cent unsafe in the same year with only 58.3 per cent households having access to water.

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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