Buhari declares state of emergency on water supply, sanitation

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



According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President made the declaration while inaugurating the National Action Plan for Revitalisation of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.



Buhari said the declaration had become imperative to reduce the high prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country.



The situation, he noted, had caused preventable deaths.



Buhari told the gathering that he was aware that Nigeria did not meet the MDG targets for water supply and sanitation that ended in 2015.



He said, “It is on this premise that I fully endorse the decision taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in April this year to declare ‘a state of emergency on our WASH Sector.’



“I call on all state governments to complement this effort by according the sector similar recognition to enable us work together to achieve the SDG targets for WASH by 2030.”



Buhari directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.



He described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country as disturbing.



The President said henceforth, Federal Government’s support to state governments would be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective states and to end open defecation by 2025.



He said, “Access to piped water services which was 32 per cent in 1990 has declined to seven per cent in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38 per cent in 1990 to 29 per cent in 2015.



“Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on open defecation as about 25 per cent of our population are practising open defecation.



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



The President reiterated his position that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene are primarily the responsibilities of state and local governments.



“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 added.
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