President Buhari declares state of emergency in water availability, sanitation, others

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared a state of emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.

Buhari, speaking during the inauguration of the National Action Plan for Revitalization of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre on Thursday, said the declaration has become imperative to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which has caused preventable deaths.

The president described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country as “disturbing”, warning that henceforth, the Federal Government’s support to State Governments will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan, in their respective States and to end open defecation by 2025.

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“Access to piped water services which was 32% in 1990 has declined to 7% in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015.

“Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25% of our population are practicing open defecation.

“WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46% of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70% of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27% in 2015 which is far below the 0.70% at the West African regional level.

“However, these are not being given the required attention judging from the high prevalence of water-borne diseases that are being reported in different parts of the country.

“We cannot and will not continue to allow these preventable occurrences to decimate our population,” he said.

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