The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has called on all Nigerians to hold their state and local governments accountable in efforts to provide potable water for their needs.
The minister made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a news conference organised in commemoration of the 2018 World Water Day, slated for March 22.
He said that the global statistics of 2.1 billion persons lacking access to potable water ought to be a great concern to individuals, corporate bodies and governments.
Adamu stressed that the Federal Government had no business with providing water for the people, adding it was the sole responsibility of state and local governments to ensure that citizens got water.
“The Federal Government only supplies bulk water and regulate water supply. It is not its responsibility to give water; that is the role of the state and local governments.
“We are urging all Nigerians to hold their state and local governments accountable to provide water for them.
“We only intervene when the need arises: in instances of humanitarian needs and in technical support,” he said.
The minister emphasised that it was the responsibility of the state governments to key into the available dams to draw water to meet the domestic and industrial needs of the people.
Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Musa Ibrahim, expressed hope that with the passage of the Water Resources Bill by the National Assembly, the roles and responsibilities of all tiers of government and agencies in the water supply chain would be clearly spelt out.
The minister said that the ministry was working to ensure the availability of safe water for all Nigerians.
He said that this had led to the creation of the Partnership for Expanded Water and Sanitation (PEWASH) programme to support efforts to make water available.
He commended the efforts of the development partners in keying into the Federal Government’s water and sanitation agenda, while implementing programmes and policies to support the government.
Adamu gave an assurance that the ministry would continue to insist on the adoption of best practices to improve the lives of all Nigerians.
Dr Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, said that Nigeria was at a critical junction in the struggle to get clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.
She said that only 43 per cent of Nigerians had access to potable water, with no fewer than 60 per cent of the citizenry struggling to get water from unclean sources.
Describing the challenges as enormous, Aniagolu-Okoye underscored the need for strengthened collaboration with sector-actors to see how water programmes and policies were implemented for the benefit of all Nigerians.
She said that WaterAid Nigeria was working with the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agencies (RUWASSA) at the state level to build capacity and collaboration to see that more people had access to water and Sanitation.
“Sanitation and open defecation is a big issue to us; we are targeting that too.
“We know that if everyone, everywhere was able to access clean water, decent toilets and hygiene; lives would be better,” she said.
Aniagolu-Okoye pledged the commitment of the organisation to working with all stakeholders to use sanitation marketing as an opportunity to scale up access to sanitation, saying that the project was being carried out in Ekiti and Enugu states.
Our correspondent reports that World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 every year to draw global attention to the importance of water to humans.
The theme of the 2018 World Water Day is “Nature for Water — Exploring Nature-based Solutions to the Water Challenges we face in the 21st Century’’.