MINISTER of Water Resources, Engr. Adamu Suleiman, has called for the implementation of the National Water Resources Policy and Partnership for the Expanded Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene, PEWASH, initiative to improve access to potable water amongst others. He stated this yesterday in Abuja during the unveiling of the National Water Resources Policies and the launch of PEWASH. According to the minister, with the implementation of the policies and PEWASH programme, the existing uncoordinated efforts by stakeholders within the water sector will be done away with for good. “It is expected that henceforth, there will be purposeful synergy of all our activities aimed at achieving access to potable water for all Nigerians and increase in the development of irrigation infrastructure to achieve self- sufficiency in food production, generate employment and reposition agriculture.” He explained that the initiative which is a 15-year programme along with strategies that will be designed for urban and small town water supply, they hope to achieve a zero percent open defecation and 100 percent access to improved water supply. Engr. Adamu enjoined all stakeholders, state and local governments to join hands with the federal government in the implementation of PEWASH. On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the PEWASH initiative has been developed as a means of addressing the challenges being faced in the water supply and sanitation sector, and to prepare a good foundation towards achieving goal six of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, which is to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by the year 2030. He lamented the fact that Nigeria did not meet the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, for Water and Sanitation due to lack of effective coordination and inability to access funds. “Unfortunately, statistics showed that 66 million Nigerians still lack access to safe water, while 110 million do not have adequate sanitation. About 150,000 children under the age of five die annually from diarrhea related diseases that are mostly traceable to unsafe drinking water.’’ He stressed that the situation is more depressing in rural areas where polluted ponds and streams remain the only sources of water for drinking and other household chores.
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