The United Nations Children’s Fund has charged the media in Nigeria to improve on reportage of issues of sanitation and provision of potable water in the country to enhance healthy living.
Speaking at a two-day media dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday, the UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku, charged newsmen on increase thorough investigative journalism on WASH.
Njoku explained that the media dialogue on WASH was organised by UNICEF with support from European Union to boost the understanding of journalists on issues that concern water, sanitation and hygiene as they affect child survival.
According to him: “This media dialogue is aimed at promoting advocacy for water and sanitation, understanding of the link between water and child survival and the roles of UNICEF and EU as well as their efforts in water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
“We urge journalists to generate and publish human interest stories so as to create visibility for water situation and interventions in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta in order to encourage more investments in water supply in the region.
“Such stories should be shared on social media with the hash tag: #WASHDialogue.
“Increased reportage of water, sanitation and hygiene in terms of indepth, incisive and analytical features would assist in achieving the SDGs and benefit the citizenry, particularly the downtrodden.
“Specifically, there is the need to tell the public about the interventions of the EU in water and sanitation project in the Niger Delta, which include Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa and Rivers states.”
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who was represented at the media dialogue by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Nse Edem, disclosed that the state government is providing new strategic policies that would ensure provision of potable water across the state.
UNICEF WASH Specialist, Moustapha Niang, in his presentation highlighted facts and figures depicting the current situation on provision of water and environmental sanitation in Nigeria.
Another UNICEF WASH Specialist, Martha Hokonya, enumerated the benefits of provision of potable water and urged journalists to do the needful in prompting the government to invest in provision of potable water.
The acting General Manager of Akwa-Ibom State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Idongesit Ido, said with the release of the counterpart funds by Emmanuel, 30 solar power mini water schemes and 24 sanitation facilities have been awarded to contractors and some of the have already been delivered.