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April 23, 2024
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Investing in critical water infrastructure, crucial for national development- FG

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By Tosin Kolade

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, has pledged Federal Government’s commitment to investing in critical water infrastructure as a cornerstone for national development.

Utsev said this at the commemoration of the 2024 United Nations World Water Day (WWD) on Friday in Abuja.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is, “Water for Peace” in Abuja.

According to him, the urgent need to prioritise water-related projects to address the country’s pressing challenges and propel sustainable growth cannot be over-emphasised.

He highlighted the threat of water scarcity to Nigeria’s sectors and communities, stressing the government’s imperative to improve water infrastructure for universal access to clean and safe water.

Utsev also highlighted alarming statistics from the United Nations, revealing that a significant percentage of people still relied on unsafe water sources, leading to health and environmental hazards.

He stressed the importance of implementing policies and programmes aimed at enhancing water supply, sanitation and hygiene services, along with increased investment in water infrastructure.

Utsev said the ministry had spearheaded several initiatives in collaboration with government stakeholders and partners in the water and sanitation sector.

He said they include: the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (PEWASH), the Sustainable Urban-Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) initiative, and the National WASH Action Plan.

He explained that the Clean Nigeria Campaign, initiated in 2019 to eradicate open defecation by 2025, had seen substantial advancements, resulting in numerous local government areas attaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

Utsev, therefore, urged all to join the “Water for Peace” campaign, emphasising the need to address water and sanitation challenges in Nigeria and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030.

He announced that as part of the 2024 World Water Day celebrations, a borehole donated by LG Electronics would be commissioned at Durumi-3, FCT, Abuja, highlighting efforts to enhance water access and sanitation.

Mr Abdourahammanne Diallo, the UNESCO Representative to Nigeria, who spoke on the recent inauguration of the 2024 UN World Water Development Report, highlighted its findings on the global impact of water scarcity.

He emphasised that water scarcity was increasingly fuelling conflicts worldwide.

Diallo stressed the importance of developing and maintaining a secure and equitable water future, stating that it was fundamental for prosperity and peace for all.

He added that poverty, inequality, social tensions, and conflict could exacerbate water insecurity, emphasising the intricate relationship between sustainable water management and prosperity and peace.

According to him, water scarcity goes beyond meeting basic needs, amplifying issues such as food insecurity, health risks, and social disparities.

He expressed concern over the disproportionate impact on girls and women, who often bear the brunt of water scarcity’s consequences.

The highlight of the day was a road walk aimed at raising awareness about the significance of World Water Day and emphasising the pivotal role of water in promoting peace and fostering a safe environment.

Additionally, awards and recognition were presented to schools that participated in competitions centered around the theme of the 2024 World Water Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Water Day serves as a global platform for governments, organisations, and agencies to spotlight the importance of improving access to safe and clean water. (NAN) www.nannews.ng 

Edited by Abiemwense Moru

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