70 million Nigerians lack safe water - UNICEF

70 million Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said at the weekend.
The Chief of Water and Sanitation sector, UNICEF Nigeria, Mr. Kannan Nadar who was represented by Dr. Boluwaji Onalede WASH specialist, stated thus in Abuja at the 2014 World Water Day.

She said a staggering 768 million people do not have access to safe drinking water worldwide, according to a joint report from UNICEF and the World Health Organisation(WHO) published in 2013.

The report, according to her, placed Nigeria as the third country with most people without access to safe water.

Onalede said with support from EU and UKAid, over 1.9 million people gained access to safe water in rural Nigeria in 2013 through its Water and Sanitation Hygiene school programme.

The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, called for collaborations with stakeholders and agencies to tackle the challenges of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Ochekpe, who was represented by the Director, Dam Operations Department in the Ministry, Dr. Emmanuel Adanu, said no nation can develop without an adequate supply of water and energy.

“We have over thirty dams in this country. The ministry of power conducted an engineering design of these dams. It is hoped that a total of about 147.60 mega watt will be generated from these dams,” the minister said.

Also, WaterAid Nigeria, an international agency, said about 112 million Nigerians lack access to basic sanitation and hygiene.

Its Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo, added that Nigeria loses N455 billion annually to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

He called on the government to increase budgetary allocation to the water sector to improve water service delivery.

“We want to see that money go to the people who need it the most; the most vulnerable in our society. To ensure that the investment that is made go to those who need the services the most,” Ojo said.

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