The Federal Government has expressed commitment to the provision of adequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the country.
Comfort Ekaro, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said this at a mid-year review meeting for the Federal Government/UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme on Friday in Abuja.
She said that government’s commitment was in line with the national and global targets of creating opportunities for improvement of lives, economic development and national productivity.
According to her, investment in water and sanitation yields enormous benefits to individuals and the nation at large.
In line with the 2019 Annual Work Plan geared toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal Six for water and sanitation, she said that a technical committee would be constituted to develop the Water Quality Management Roadmap.
Ekaro said that when in place, the roadmap would be expected to give direction to water quality issues in the country.
She said that guidelines for Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance had also been developed for the implementation of water safety planning and other related activities.
She said: “We have also recorded the attainment of additional Open Defecation Free Local Government Areas within this period, which has brought the total number of ODF LGAs in the country to 13.
“The new ODF LGAs under the FGN/UNICEF WASH programme include Roni and Gwiwa LGAs in Jigawa state and Boki LGA of Cross River state.
“These achievements are significant but unfortunately, they are not enough to get us on track toward becoming ODF by the year 2025.
“There is need to engage strategies that will enable us to mobilise the entire country and empower communities and LGAs within the shortest possible time.”
Ekola said that the development of a national action plan for the WASH sector and the declaration of a state of emergency in the sector were part of the efforts so far made by the government.
He said that the recent approval for the roll out of a national programme to end open defecation in the country through the ‘Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet’ campaign was also one of the government’s efforts.
Zaid Jurji, the Chief of WASH, UNICEF Nigeria said that the meeting was to appraise the progress on the implementation of the 2019 annual work plan and collate inputs for the realisation of 2019 targets.
Jurji said the direction for the WASH programme would be to support the ministry to conduct and publish the 2019 national outcome routine mapping for the programme.
He said: “We want to scale up sanitation marking, innovations and financing, while we must also improve on water quality monitoring and water safety planning in line with SDGs requirements, among others.”
Emmanuel Awe, the Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said government had taken initiatives to raise the profile of sanitation and hygiene as a determinant for sustainable development in the country.
Represented by Emmanuel Eze, the Deputy Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Awe lauded the initiatives, saying they were geared toward having more integrated platform for fostering collaboration among stakeholders.
He said: “This joint review process provides us the opportunity to assess the progress of programmes implementation, identity challenges, address other emerging issues affecting the sector and agree on ways forward.”