Water sector stakeholders have expressed displeasure over lack of sources of potable water, calling on governments and private sectors to collaborate to revive major sources of water across the country.
They made the call at a stakeholders forum organised by Water Aid, an international organisation as part of activities to mark the 2019 World Water Day.
March 22 is set aside annually to celebrate the occasion.
The theme for 2019 celebration is “Leaving No One Behind”.
Dr Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, the Country Director, WaterAid, appealed to government at all levels to revive dams and other major sources of water across the country.
According to Aniagolu-Okoye, most of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related challenges in the country could be curbed, if there were adequate WASH facilities.
“It is embarrassing to Nigeria that in 21st Century, we have Lassas fever, we have cholera, dysentery, things that can be very easily to eliminate with adequate WASH facilities.
“It is fantastic that the Federal Government had declared State of Emergency in WASH sector, it is also fantastic that we have National Action Plan.
“But these need to be really put into action and to take it down to the state level for action because this is where majority of Nigerians are living, ” she said.
While appreciating the Federal Government in its efforts, the WaterAid official tasked state governments to be proactive in WASH sector as it had been doing.
She also advised that old water projects and infrastructure be maintained, quoting the World Bank as saying, “40 per cent of all the water projects in Nigeria break down in the first one year.
“That is huge, we need to move from providing new facilities to maintaining the old ones, it is time for us not to talk about problems, but to find solutions to WASH issues.
Mrs Oluwatoyin Saraki, the Founder/President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WFA), stressed the need for private sector partnership with the governments, saying government alone could not make provision of WASH to all citizens.
Saraki said that WFA was always advocating partnering with governments at all levels to reach out to the rural areas in particular.
“Private sectors have established structures to doing their business which can be deployed when you want to achieve a community goal.
“At WFA, we launched WASH campaign in 2018 because of the overwhelming evidence from our frontline healthcare programmes that we have to retrace our steps.
“We have noted that WASH indices in Nigeria were not only poor, but were worsening in many instances, ” she said.
According to her, the foundation is aimed to reach out to two million Nigerian children with hand washing and soap techniques in one year to curb water related sicknesses affecting vulnerable children.
Mr Chime Asonye, the Partnership and Engagement Manager, Partnership Initiatives In Niger Delta, an NGO, emphasised the need for the private sector to assist the rural communities in providing WASH facilities to cushion the plight of the rural areas.
“This is one of the major reasons we are partnering WaterAid to ensure that those in Niger Delta region have access to clean water having seen their plight due to environmental challenges within the region,” he said.
Geoscientists Make Case For Clean Energy
The Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), has called on Nigeria and other African nations to focus on minerals that are critical to transition to clean and green energy.
Newly inducted President of the society, Alabo Charlesye David Charles said this in Port Harcourt shortly after his induction as the 31st President of the society.
Charles also stressed the need for further linkages between the mining sector and the economy through the development and implementation of the local content policies that promote domestic production of inputs as well as value addition through manufacturing skills building, domestic job creation and participation of small and medium enterprises within the value chain.
According to him, “value addition is pivotal to lifting a good percentage of our people from poverty through the activities of the extractive sector.
Charles said multinational mining companies should be encouraged to engage more closely with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as micro businesses as suppliers in the mines value chain.
He said the Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) is ready to partner the stakeholders in the development of the upstream sector of the industry by providing a specialized pool of professionals that policy makers in both the public and private sectors can rely on for quality interventions and delivery.
The NMGS 31st President also called for continuous massive investment in the mining sector
“In Nigeria, from statistics obtained from NAPIMS show already declining investment. So if there is no fresh capital for either brown field or Greenfield investment, we cannot grow production
“If we don’t grow production, the consequence is that we are building a short supply for tomorrow” he said.
Out-gone president of the society, Engr. Simon O. Nkom thanked members for the confidence reposed on the out-gone executive.
Nkom said the NMGS has come of age and calls on members to support the new executive to enable it execute more programmes for the society.
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba said the ceremony will usher in a new era as far as the society is concerned.
Alabraba who was represented by Engr. Main David West said Geoscientists and civil engineers have a lot in common, adding that they must work together to develop the society.
Also speaking, Chairman local organizing committee of the ceremony, Prof. Winston Belgam said the ceremony was a big success.
He said the vision of the new president will transform the society and the mining industry in Nigeria.
By: John Bibor
A’Ibom Spends N10bn On Erosion Control – Commissioner
The Akwa Ibom State Government has spent N10 billion on erosion control projects in the state in the last nine months, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Charles Udoh has said.
Udoh told The Tide source in Eket that the money was spent on two major sites – Etim Umana erosion and St. Luke Hospital control projects.
“In the last nine months or so, we have spent close to N10 billion on erosion and the two major sites are Etim Umana Erosion and St. Luke Hospital erosion control projects,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that businesses, houses and critical infrastructure had been displaced by erosion and flood in the areas.
According to him, more cities in Akwa Ibom are prone to gully erosion due of the natural topography and soil texture in those locations.
“This automatically means that whenever there is down pour, we are in the rain belt, gully erosion will become a problem,’’ he said.
He said building of houses on the right of way and farming on the slope of gully were some causes of gully erosion.
Udoh said the IBB Avenue flood control project, if not checked, could have a spill effect on erosion control.
“We are receiving a major drain to evacuate flood water because if you allow flood water to be there (IBB avenue) for a long time, it will begin to heat the crux of the earth surface.
“Then erosion will begin to prick in, especially in a place like Uyo that the soil texture is loose,’’ Udoh said.
The commissioner said the state government had rescued more than 100 houses, entire St. Luke and School of Nursing in Etim Umana from erosion.
On ecological issue, he noted that the state government alone could not solve the state’s erosion problem, adding that it was seeking for intervention (ecological funds) to do that.
World Desertification Day: FG Restates Commitment To Tackle Environmental Challenges
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring lasting solution to environmental challenges by adopting a sustainable land management practices across the country.
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, spoke at the commemoration of 2021 World Desertification and Drought Day, organised by his ministry in Abuja.
Abubakar said the government had developed policies, plans building institutional and legislative capacities to enhance effective and far-reaching actions to reduce the impacts of desertification and drought on the citizenry.
According to him, government recognises the importance of partnership in tackling desertification and it has facilitated the involvement of other actors, including the private sectors as well as donor organisations.
Abubakar said the government was concerned about the disruption of ecological system caused by poor land use, population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the North-Eastern part of the country.
He said that the government was also worried about the dire consequences of land degradation, loss of lives and means of livelihood and had put in place the North-East Development Commission.
Abubakar added that the effort was to restore human dignity and bring succour to the people living in the area.
He urged Nigerians to cultivate the culture of planting trees as well as ensuring that any tree cut down was replaced, as this would serve as protection from windstorm and erosion.
Matazu said that the effort would help to protect fragile ecosystem and ensure sustainable environmental development of the country.
The theme of the 2021 World Desertification and Drought Day is: ‘Restoration, Land, Recovery’, ”We Build Better with Healthy Land’’.
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