The Federal Government says the country is close to meeting the Open Defecation Free (ODF) target by 2025.
Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, who said this in a function in Bauchi State also declared local government councils in Bauchi State as open defecation free.
Represented by his permanent secretary, Dr. Musa Ibrahim, the minister said the feat was achieved in partnership with other implementing partners, adding that it showed that Nigeria was close to meeting the ODF target by 2025.
Adamu said the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Diagnostic Report by the World Bank showed that Nigeria had made steady progress in the provision of safe water.
He, however, expressed concern that the nation had not made corresponding progress in sanitation and hygiene sector.
The minister, who said efforts in the past to address sanitation challenges yielded minimal results, assured that that a critical look at the issues showed that it would not be business as usual.
He said the ministry had launched the Partnership for Expanded Water Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme to seek stakeholders’ commitment to improve access to WASH, especially in the rural areas.
The minister said the ministry had started providing sanitation and hygiene facilities in the country with special consideration for the North-East, as part of its responses to the humanitarian needs of the people.
“The benefits of access to WASH facilities, especially of living in an Open Defecation Free environment, impacts on the education, health, security and socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“In this regard, I wish to commend the people of Dass Local Government Area for their commitment toward behavioural change,” he said.
He urged the people of the area to be steadfast in such behaviour, adding that a relapse would deny them the inherent benefits of WASH facilities.
Permanent Secretary, Bauchi Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr Garba Magaji, said the celebration marked a significant milestone in the history of the state over 15 years ago.
Magaji said with collaborative partnership with other stakeholders, the state had been able to have 351 communities working with hygiene promoters to sustain practices through the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach.
He said hand washing, at critical times with tippy taps, was now being practiced in 70 schools, with no fewer than 21,198 households imbibing same practice for overall hygiene promotion.
The permanent secretary said it was worthy of note that no one in the entire local government defecates in the open.
He asserted that the impact was already being felt with the reduction in visits to hospitals and an increase in pupils’ attendance and completion of schools.
Magaji pledged the commitment of the agency to sustain the ODF status by moving up toward attaining the total sanitation status of improving the quality of households and public toilets, and over hygiene promotion in the state.
Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Ayuba, said the achievement was worthy of celebration.
He said the feat was made possible with support from the U.K. Department for International Development/UNICEF in its Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project.
Ayuba thanked the donor agencies and partners for their commitment toward scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the state.
The commissioner said that Warji and Gamawa Local Government Areas were also working to meet the ODF status.
Mr Drissa Yeo, of UNICEF Nigeria Field Office, said the agency was honoured to be part of the celebration, following the concerted efforts put in over the years.
Yeo commended the Bauchi State Government and the people of Dass Local Government Area for their commitment to move up the sanitation ladder.
Bayelsa Government Assures Residents Of Measure To Check Flooding
The Director General of Erosion and Flood Control Bayelsa State, Omusco Omusco, has said that the directorate has all it takes to mitigate the challenges that will come with flood in the state.
He disclosed the canals clearing was paused due to lack of funds admitting that immediately more funds are made available, work will continue.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the DG said that already the directorate had been working by clearing the canals before it ran out of cash.
They are preparing and intervening, and they are opening up channels.
He said that plans were on the ground for the state government to approve more money for them to continue the clearing of the canals.
According to him, the fund was not ready because of the bureaucratic process involved in the civil service.
“All that we need is good funding, and if good funding is available, we are ready to drive this process so that flood will be reduced to the barest minimum and it will not disturb human existence”, he said.
According to the DG, they are trying to open up the channels and the creeks and they are also studying where to allow this water to go.
Group Tasks Agip On Ecological Problem Before Divestment
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a non-governmental organisation has called on the Nigerian Agip Oil Company to address the ecological problem caused by its long years of oil exploitation before selling its assets to other companies.
The foundation said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt..
The statement captioned: “Agip must answer to concerns over ecological, health, economic and social impact in the Niger Delta before selling it’s assets said the oil giant should first of all adress the environmental problems caused by its operation before selling it’s assets.
According to the statement, “Our attention has been directed to a press statement issued on September 4th, 2023, announcing that Oando PLC has concluded a deal with Eni to acquire 100% of the shares of Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited.
According to the statement, the selling transaction is subject to the approval of the applicable authorities and other regulatory clearances.
“This transaction comes a little over two years after Shell, Chevron, Total Energies, and Exxon Mobil attempted to divest vital oil assets. International oil corporations operating in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have clearly agreed to sell off their onshore assets and depart the area.
“While we recognise that firms have the right to dispose of their assets as they see fit, we are worried about the way in which this transaction is being carried out, as well as the immediate and long-term ramifications for communities and the cause of ecological justice.
“We are particularly concerned about the following issues:
The statement signed by KOMO Odhomo media Director of the organisation said the company ought to inform its host communities of its decision to divest its interest
“It is important to note that the so-called ‘host’ communities in which Agip has operated for up to six decades are unaware of the impending sale and have not been informed by the firm. They, like the rest of the population, just learned in the news that oil assets situated in their ancestral lands and rivers will be transferred to another company.
It further noted that the company’s operation for decades has left terrible ecological problem in the region.
“Agip has been operating recklessly for decades, leaving terrible ecological and socio-economic legacies.
“Several investigations have found the corporation and its collaborators responsible for environmental degradation that has destroyed livelihoods, poisoned communities, and created circumstances for human rights violations.
It further noted that throughout its operations, Agip has consistently flared gas, wreaking havoc on the health, livelihoods, and environment of Niger Delta oil-producing communities.
According to HoMEF, “The United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report on the impacts of hydrocarbon pollution in Ogoniland is a reference to the devastating impact of oil extraction.
NiMET Promises Quality Weather Forecast In Nigeria
The Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu says the agency is ready to advance its quality management system to improve the weather forecast across the nation.
Matazu said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
He said, such efforts in advancing quality of management system with relevant training will enhance the weather prediction accuracy and precision.
“The agency is exposing its operations to improved quality management systems and even traansforming to Safety Management Systems (SMS) across all its operations in the country.
“NiMet is striving to do more and is open to assist other Ministries,Departments and Agencies (MDA)s of government to pass through this process,” he said.
On the International Standard Organisation (ISO) Certification recently acquired by NiMet, Matazu explained that a rigorous quality management audit was followed.
According to him, NiMet has acquired the recertification of the International Standard Organisation ISO 9001:2015 and the International Standard Organization ISO 29990:2010 for the provision of aeronautical meteorological services.
“Also, for the capacity building at it’s Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Lagos and MBMIST in Katsina respectively.
“We took the challenge as far back as 2013 and we have been maintaining this 3 years certificate and we just acquired recertification of ISO 9001:2015 for aeronautical meteorological services in six major international airports.
“We are working hard to extend it to 10 more airports across the country, “ he said.
He further explained that the agency had acquired another recertification for ISO 29990:2010 for training, recertification and capacity training.
“Remember NiMet runs two training institutes like polytechnics, one in Lagos the RTC, which is a World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) accredited training centre .
“We also have the Muhammadu Buhari Meteorological Institute of Science and Technology (MBMIST), which is accredited by the National Board for Technical Education ( NBTE) as a training centre in Katsina and offers Diploma.
“So, we have acquired ISO 29990:2010 for training on all aspects of meteorology, applied meteorology including climate change,” he explained.
He said NiMet was the first meteorological service on the African continent to have acquired the certification.
According to him, the agency is serving as an auditor for some African countries like Malawi and Gambia presently.
“It is of note that NiMet has also been approached by Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development to assist and guide them to acquire this certification.
“The implication of this recertification is like the stamp of standardisation of service delivery by an international organisation and gives a guarantee on the precision and efficiency of NiMe’s products and service,” he said.
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