Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission Mr Reuben Habu, has expressed optimism that Water Resources Bill will address many challenges in the water sector, when signed into law.
Habu told newsmen in Abuja that the bill would ensure protection and management of Nigeria’s water resources in a sustainable and equitable manner for the benefit of all citizens.
The executive director said that water sources were being threatened by inadequate management and widespread pollution resulting from indiscriminate disposal of hazardous substances.
Habu said that there was the need for a law to protect them.
The executive director noted that the country had made much investment in water schemes and related activities but had yet to achieve the desired result.
According to him, the desire to improve access to the resources had become more obscure because of increasing demand for water in the country.
He said that the rise in demand for water had exceeded supply, noting that it resulted from high population growth rate, increasing urbanisation and rising living conditions.
Habu added that poor watershed management, deteriorating water quality, drought and desertification also increased water scarcity.
“Scarcity of potable water is threatening urban and rural development with rapidly rising water supply costs, thereby reducing reliability of water supplies in Nigeria, ” he said.
The executive director identified degrading watersheds and water courses and fragmented and uncoordinated extraction of water resources as some major challenges in the sector.
Habu said that the commission had determined to engage the services of stakeholders and water research institutions to widen its sensitisation programme on the importance of the bill.
“Recently, we received students alongside other lecturers led by Dr Hadiza Liman, Head, Department of Geography, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger, and we sensitised them.
“Such collaboration will bridge the gap between academia research and water resources management institutions and other stakeholders and the public in general, ” he said.
NIHSA Alerts On More Floods
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned Nigerians to be prepared for more floods due to high rainfall intensity of long duration in the country.
Mr Clement Nze, the Director General of the agency gave the warning while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
Nze said that the warning became necessary as it served to alert Nigerians that the country would soon experience the peak of flooding season for the year 2019.
“The localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country are expected to continue.
“The flooding incidents are due to high rainfall intensity of long duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the floodplains and waterways.
“River flooding as well as coastal flooding is expected to come into place as the nation approaches the peak of raining season.
“Therefore, states and local governments should endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drainage, culverts and other waterways,” he said.
Nze said that the agency was closely monitoring the flooding across the country with the attendant loss of lives and property.
He said that the flooding were manifesting as predicted by the agency.
“This means that the relevant stakeholders, especially the individuals and state governments have failed to heed the non-adherence to flood predictions for 2019.
“Thereby resulting in avoidable flooding incidents leading to loss of lives and property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands,” he said.
The director general said that since 2013, the agency had continued to publish Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), following the devastating effect of the 2012 flood.
He said that the AFO report and effective sensitisation campaign by the agency had been saving the country from huge revenue losses due to flooding.
He said that AFO was a means of producing early flood warning information for stakeholders to use as yardstick for taking action to mitigate flood related disasters.
FG’s Clean-Up Nigeria Campaign To Gulp N900bn
The Federal Government says, the country requires the sum of N900 billion to execute the “clean-up Nigeria: Use the Toilet campaign.
The campaign is aimed at ensuring that Nigeria attains the status of an open defecation free (ODF) nation by 2025.
The Chief Scientific officer, Federal Ministry Of Water Resources, Mrs Yemisi Akpa, who disclosed this at a media dulogue on sanitation: “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign” in Calabar, Cross River State, said that the government requires N10 billion annually to achieve the target.
Mrs Akpa said that with the approval of N10 billion by the Federal Government towards the clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign, it beholves one state government in the country to also set a site resources towards the campaign which will soon be launched at the national and state levels.
She listed the benefits of the campaign to include improved sanitation, businesses, education healthcare services and productivity.
Meanwhile government at all levels in the country have been urged to give more attention to the employment of Environmental Health Workers.
This was part of the decision reached at a media dialogue on sanitation in Calabar, Cross Rivers State.
The Conference said that the dearth of environment health workers in the various states of the Federation is hampering the campaign against poor sanitation habits in the country.
The stakeholders also urged for more funding of the environment and health sectors, while those in position of authorities must implement decisions that will improve Nigeria rating is an Open Defeacation free a (ODF) nation by 2025.
Also speaking, Dr. Ibrahim Khali Conteh, Chief Fied of Field Office United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Enugu said that the media dialogue which is the third so far organised by the organization this year was targeted at achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) Nigeria by 2025 as well as improved overall sanitation in the country.
Dr. Conteh said that the country must have toilets facilities in all public places such as; markets, schools and commended the Federal Government for taking proactive steps to achieve the clean Nigeria campaign.
Agency Decries Inadequate Water, Sanitation Services In Schools
Acting Programme Manager, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr Eyo Offiong, says only 15.7 per cent of schools in Nigeria have basic water and sanitation services.
Offiong made this known at a two-ay Media Dialogue on “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilets” in Calabar on Wednesday.
He said that the percentage signified low Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in the educational sector.
He called for an increase in the number of WASH facilities across the educational sector in the country.
According to him, there is need for adequate water and sanitation facilities in schools to aid teaching outcomes.
” The 15.7 per cent of schools in Nigeria with basic facilities is a national outlook, it is a national average.
” It is for government to ensure the political will and commitment to provide water in schools as well as basic sanitation facilities to expand beyond the communities or local government where the donor partners are involved in.
“It is for government to commit funds into ensuring that this happens. The good thing about the statistics is that it brings clearly what needs to be done and how it can be done.
” So far, in Cross River State, the government has also declared emergency in the WASH sector last year.
“The government has gone further to drill over 200 solar powered boreholes in the past six months and the process of completion is ongoing.”
Offiong said that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River had also committed to providing three million dollars annually for the next five years to make the state an Open Defecation Free state.
“Going by the statements of the governor, the state is ready and willing to move ahead to ensure we become open defecation free state and to drive the state in education and health.”
The acting manager also noted that to drive the initiative, six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the states had been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), which is the highest in the country.
He said that the LGAs declared ODF included Obanliku, Bekwara, Yala, Ikom, Boki and Yakurr.
He said that the state had provided 20,367 new household laterines under the Water Supply and Sanitation Council Programme (WSSSRP), while 4,088 volunteer hygiene promoters were trained on hygiene practices.
Meanwhile, Mr Bioye Ogunjobi, WASH Specialist, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), disclosed that Nigeria now has 13 local governments certified open defecation areas.
He added that Jigawa and Bauchi states had over 3,000 communities certified ODF.
Also, Mrs Yemisi Akpa, the Chief Scientific Officer, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said the achievement of the 13 ODF Local Government Areas in the country was not enough as more efforts were needed to ensure good hygiene practice by 2025.
Akpa said that to achieve ODF by 2025, there was also the need to provide an average of 100 household latrines annually in all the 774 LGAs.
She urged Nigeria government to constitute a technical working group to operationalise the National Roadmap toward ODF.
She, therefore, called on the Cross River government to be more committed through funding to deliver the remaining 12 LGAs yet to be declared ODF.
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