Nigeria needs to invest $8 billion yearly in potable water – UNICEF

Zaid Jurgi, Chief of WASH, UNICEF during his presentation at a media dialogue on Water Supply and Sanitation in Jos, Plateau STATE (FILE PHOTO)
Zaid Jurgi, Chief of WASH, UNICEF during a recent presentation at a media dialogue on Water Supply and Sanitation in Jos, Plateau STATE (FILE PHOTO)

About $8 billion needs to be invested annually in providing potable water in Nigeria, if the country must achieve Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

SDGs Goal 6 aims at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

An official of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Zaid Jurgi, said this on Tuesday in Jos at a dialogue on water supply and sanitation sector reform project in the country.

The event was organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the Child Right Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture..

Mr. Jurgi said the amount, to be provided by government at the different levels with support from UNICEF and other private sector players, will help push Nigeria towards providing safe and reliable service on water and sanitation.

Mr. Jurgi, who is the Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at UNICEF, said with over 60 million Nigerians still lacking access to potable water, more funds must be invested to ensure the access.

He said if the country continues at the present rate of development in the water sector, only about 72 per cent of Nigerians will have access to potable water supply by 2030.

He said access to safe water can save most of the under five children who die annually from preventable diseases, as most of the diseases are caused by poor access to water.

Mr. Jurgi noted that about 88 per cent of diarrhoea cases in Nigeria come from states that do not meet the WASH standard.

He said about 25 per cent of Nigerians practices open defecation without potable water, noting that the figure was more than half the population of Canada.

However, in its effort to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) nation, Mr Jurgi said, UNICEF in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, will begin a campaign to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of WASH.

Half of Nigeria’s over 170 million citizens lack access to potable water. While many in urban areas provide water for themselves by either constructing boreholes or buying water from those who construct, millions in villages still get their water from streams and rivers.

Earlier at the event, the World Bank urged the Nigeria government to invest at least 1.7 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product in WASH as the current investment is below 0.6 percent.

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