Augustine Carlos Ukpong, a 28 year old,
generator repairer and an indigene of
Ikot Esop community in Nsit Atai Local
Government Area in Uyo, Akwa Ibom
State, is now a happy young man from
his looks.
Ukpong’s beamish smile even when
not necessary could not be farfetched,
because the young man’s happy mood
would evoke the curiosity of a cat. You
would be prompted to ask him; what is
the cause of this happiness?
He was quick to tell anyone that cared
to ask that his village Ikot Esop now has
clean and portable water courtesy of the
European Union, EU, in partnership
with the United Nation’s Children Fund,
UNICEF borehole project under the
Water and Sanitation Hygiene, WASH
‘’Ikot Esop village is now blessed with
clean water. I can now drink clean water.
I cook , wash and even bathe using
clean water from the borehole project
and tippy tap open defecation free toilet
Project in Ikot Esop village’’, Ukpong
happily said.
According to him, the only source of
water for the villagers is water from
the popular Ikot Esop stream which
other surrounding communities like
Ikot Obiam, Ikot Nsop also use. This
is because Ikot Esop river never dries.
These communities have been using
water from this river for a very long
time, in fact since I was born we have
been using this river.
The only source of water for the
villagers is the Ikot Esop stream which
is invested by algae and other weeds
which often causes water borne diseases
like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and other
contagious diseases and the villagers
have long endured such illnesses which
claims the many lives”, he said.
Also indigenes of Ikot Ukpong village,
a neighboring community are also
basking in the euphoria of WASH
borehole water project as they proudly
show off to visitors. On behalf of the
indigenes of her community, a woman
leader and WASHCOM treasurer of Ikot
Ukpong community, Deaconess Eno
John Ibok with other women showed
gratitude for the WASH project sited
in her community which they said has
saved them the burden of going daily to
get water from their local stream.
She said, “I thank God for this water
project because since I was born into this
village we have never experienced any
good thing such as this borehole clean
water project.’’
‘’It takes women and girls long hours
to trek to and from the only stream
in this village to get water for our
domestic chores. We also spend long
hours bathing, washing our clothes and
putting them to dry before coming back
‘’We used to suffer going to the stream and
most times our pots break after fetching
water from the stream but now we do
not experience such because UNICEF has
provided us water for free which we can
draw from tap’’, Deaconess Ibok said.
The Niger Delta region of Nigeria,
especially the communities locked up in
the creeks are endowed with abundant
water yet the communities are bereft of
clean and portable water.
Lack of treated clean source of water over
the years has contributed to the high rate
of water borne diseases among children,
especially the under fives, women and
entire communities suffer. Often there are
outbreaks of diarrhea, malaria, typhoid
and the likes in whole communities.
For the achievement of the Sustainable
Development Goals, SDGs, by the year
2030, the European Union in collaboration
with UNICEF under the water and
sanitation hygiene, WASH project has sited
boreholes providing clean and portable
water to communities in Delta, Bayelsa,
Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Edo States.
WASH project provides boreholes for
safe and portable water and tippy taps for
eradication of open defecation and toilet
hygiene practices in communities to help
eradicate outbreaks of water borne and
sanitation diseases in whole communities.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster
Survey, MICS, 2013 Report, only 57.48% of
Nigerians have access to improved water
supply which is a far cry to the SDG agenda
for sustainable health for all by 2030.
At a recent media dialogue on WASH in
EU supported states water supply and
water quality, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State,
Moustapha Niang, WASH Specialist,
UNICEF, in a presentation disclosed
that of the 57.48% of national average of
Nigerians who have access to clean and
portable water, the Niger Delta region
makes up only 16.57%, which means that
32 million out of a population of 190million
people have access to improved water
supply with Akwa Ibom having 76.3%,
Rivers 86.4%, Delta 75.1%, Bayelsa 27.5%
and Edo 73.2%.
According to Niang, there are still
challenges in the Niger Delta region
even after provision of boreholes to
communities. He said, ‘’There are cases of
faecal contamination some months after
boreholes are drilled and in use. There
are cases of nitrate contamination also
due to seepage from nearby latrines and
the use of fertilizers and pesticides for
agricultural purposes, adding that Bayelsa
is particularly plagued with iron and
manganese contamination, and this brings
about issues which can lead to rejection of
the water provided the people.’’
Niang said that water is a big problem in
Nigeria and a good population of should
to have access to clean water now in the
‘’It is the focus of UNUICEF to partner
Village women fetching water from muddy water
Clean water
to increased
health status
of populations.
Absence of it
causes more than
half of global
diarrheal diseases
which remains the
second leading
cause of morbidity
and mortality
among children
under five
with government to get this target by
2020 and partnership means we should
have motorized borehole in urban and
rural communities’’, he noted.
In consonance, UNICEF WASH
Specialist, Martha Hokonya in a
presentation ‘’Why invest in water?”
further noted that clean water
contributes to increased health status
of populations, adding that poor
WASH causes more than half of global
diarrheal diseases which remains the
second leading cause of morbidity and
mortality among children under five.
WASH conditions also contributes to
other goals like poor nutrition, stunting,
maternal and newborn health, Hokonya
According to UNICEF report, 57
million Nigerians do not have access
to safe water supply and more than
have of this population live in rural
areas. 15 million Nigerians who reside
in rural communities still drink water
from rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and
irrigation canals.
45, 000 Children under age five die
annually from diseases caused to poor
water, sanitation and hygiene. UNICEF
also noted that under the EU WASH
project in the Niger Delta region a total
of 206,954 additional people gained
access to safe water as against target of
543,000 people.
In Rivers State 23,800, Akwa Ibom
State 8,700, Delta State 128,214, Bayelsa
State 3,550 and Edo State 42,690 with
water supply plans developed in 224
The Niger Delta support project with an
overall EU funding of EUR 20,000,000
started from 2013. It is a five year
project which is designed to address the
peculiar problems in the region and to
mitigate the conflict in the region, the
WASH experts said. If this project must
be sustained and completely achieved to
meet the 2030 SDG then states have to
release their counterpart funds.
According to UNICEF source
counterpart funding from states is
N142 million and Akwa Ibom State
has released paid the sum of N158
million which is 100%. Bayelsa State has
released the sum of N158 million that is
100%. Rivers State N89 million which is
63% and Delta State N156 million and
Edo State is still pending.
Like Moustapha said , ‘’each government
should commit one percent of their
budget to water and sanitation”, adding
that due to the impact of WASH its
impacts on multiple sectors is very cost
effective and globally it is proven to
yield between $3 to $7 per every dollar
invested depending on the intervention
and programme content.
Yet, this is the only way Nigeria can
achieve the SDG on water and sanitation
hygiene for a healthy population.

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