Nigeria gets over N101.5bn in­ter­na­tional wa­ter aid

• Not enough wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid reach­ing Nigeria – WaterAid • More as­sis­tance needed – Min­is­ter

Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - By Alex Abutu

Nigeria has re­ceived in­ter­na­tional wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid of $616.23m about N101.5bn be­tween 2010 and 2012, a new WaterAid re­port has said.

“Just $1.26 has been re­ceived in wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid for each per­son in Nigeria on aver­age for the years 2010-2012,” notes a star­tling new re­port, Bridg­ing the Di­vide, re­leased by the in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment char­ity WaterAid on the eve of World Wa­ter Day.

This is de­spite, 63.2 mil­lion people in Nigeria (39 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion) not hav­ing ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter and 112.7 mil­lion (69 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion) go­ing with­out ba­sic ac­cess to san­i­ta­tion.

The re­port ar­gued that in­ter­na­tional wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid failed to reach those in great­est need, ex­ac­er­bat­ing global in­equal­i­ties rather than re­duc­ing them.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Nigeria has re­ceived on aver­age $205.41 mil­lion per year in wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid, for the years 2010-2012.

Dr Michael Ojo, WaterAid Nigeria Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “The stated aim of in­ter­na­tional aid is to help the world’s poor break out of poverty and to live healthy and pro­duc­tive lives - and to pos­i­tively ad­dress our fun­da­men­tally un­equal world. With nearly 100,000 chil­dren un­der the age of five dy­ing ev­ery year in Nigeria be­cause of a lack of ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter, ba­sic san­i­ta­tion and hy­giene; why is not more wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid be­ing tar­geted at those who are des­per­ately wait­ing for these es­sen­tial ser­vices in our coun­try?”

Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Re­sources, Mrs Sarah Reng Ochekpe, in a re­cent meet­ing with United Na­tions As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Mr Jean Elias­son, asked the in­ter­na­tional com­mit­tee for more as­sis­tance to en­able the Federal Govern­ment meet its wa­ter obli­ga­tion to Nige­ri­ans.

Ochekpe said that Nigeria was com­mit­ted to sur­pass­ing the MDG wa­ter re­lated tar­get but added that the Federal Govern­ment alone can­not shoul­der the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“In 2012 we were able to carry out a na­tion­wide re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of over 1000 bro­ken down bore­holes and in this fis­cal year, we shall also un­der the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of an­other 1000 bore­holes across the coun­try,” she said.

The min­is­ter re­it­er­ated the de­ter­mi­na­tion of govern­ment to in­crease of more Nige­ri­ans to clean and safe wa­ter.

Over 330,000 people across the world, last week, took part in World Walks for Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion events in sol­i­dar­ity with the hun­dreds of mil­lions still forced to walk for wa­ter. The global mass move­ment, led by the cam­paign coali­tion, End Wa­ter Poverty, is de­mand­ing uni­ver­sal and sus­tain­able ac­cess to wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion.

Last week, WaterAid Nigeria or­gan­ised a 7-km walk for wa­ter to help raise aware­ness about the con­tin­u­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion cri­sis in Nigeria, mo­bil­is­ing the voices of Nige­ri­ans and pro­vid­ing a plat­form for them to be heard. The walk was held in con­junc­tion with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Wa­ter Re­sources. The Min­is­ter for Wa­ter Re­sources was rep­re­sented by the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Al­haji Umar Baba Farouk.

The walk was at­tended by nearly 500 par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Power, var­i­ous youth groups, Ox­fam, UNICEF, Min­istry of Health, The In­sti­tute of Hu­man Vi­rol­ogy, Nigeria and mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

De­spite glob­ally 1 in 10 people lack­ing ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter, and more than 1 in 3 with­out ac­cess to ba­sic san­i­ta­tion, most donors still al­lo­cate rel­a­tively low pri­or­ity to aid spend­ing to tackle this cri­sis, ac­count­ing in 2012 for just 6 per cent of over­all donor aid.

In ad­di­tion, much of the promised aid fails to be de­liv­ered. Over the past decade donors have failed – for rea­sons un­clear – to pass on a third of the money they pledged to spend on wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion aid, or US$27.6 bil­lion out of the US$81.2 bil­lion since 2002 that has been com­mit­ted.

The WaterAid re­port comes ahead of cru­cial dis­cus­sions at the World Bank in Wash­ing­ton in April (10-11) where the San­i­ta­tion and Wa­ter for All part­ner­ship will hold its third High-Level Meet­ing. Min­is­ters from Nigeria along­side other de­vel­op­ing and donor coun­try Min­is­ters will meet to dis­cuss the wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion cri­sis.

WaterAid Nigeria is call­ing for a ded­i­cated goal on uni­ver­sal ac­cess to wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, as part of the new global post-2015 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals so that ev­ery­one, every­where has ac­cess to these life giv­ing ne­ces­si­ties no later than 2030.

Chil­dren hap­pily fetch­ing wa­ter in a bore­hole in Tona, Dam­batta LGA of Kano State.

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