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World Water Day 2023: Group tasks govt on safe water systems



TO MARK the 2023 World Water Day (WWD), a non-government organisation, the Rural Community Development Outreach (RCDO), based in Nigeria, with membership across the rural communities in the six geo-political regions of Nigeria has called on the Nigerian Government to pay urgent attention to the water crisis in Nigeria which presently threatens the lives of over 78m children and others, especially in the rural communities across country.

In a statement signed by its national coordinator, Ikenna Ellis-Ezenekwe and the National Secretary, Okwudili Onyeke, the group disclosed that over 78 million Nigerian children are in danger and find themselves at risk of water-related diseases, according to estimates by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

According to the group, there is an existential threat looming dangerously, and which may overpower the Nigerian health care sector if nothing is urgently done.

“Already, Nigeria is one of the 10 countries that carry the heaviest burden of child mortality from diseases caused by inadequate attention to water supply, sanitation and hygiene, such as diarrhea and other diseases. One-third of the children in Nigeria do not have access to, at least, basic water at home, and two-third do not have basic sanitation services.

“Not minding that, Nigerian households, according to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, spent over N4trillion on water, sanitary, hygiene and services annually in 2019 and 2020; the majority of the rural communities in Nigeria find themselves in lack of access to safe usable water. Many are left with no options than to use polluted and highly contaminated water streams as drinking water and for other uses.

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“As the world celebrates water Day, it would be morally just for the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people in leadership positions to re-examine the trouble posed by continued unavailability of safe water in rural communities around the country. It is the civil right of every Nigerian, both young and old, to have access to safe water that will not cause a pandemic,” it said.

The group, in the press statement, noted that most state governments have adopted the concept of sinking water boreholes as a solution to the unavailability of safe water —a concept it also faulted as unable to address the challenge of unavailability of safe drinking water.

“But boreholes do not address the safety problem. Government should look beyond the sinking of water boreholes as a solution to unavailability of safe drinking water. This government must conceive a plan. A real implementable plan for delivering safe drinking water to every home in Nigeria, particularly the rural communities. It should be considered as important as building roads and hospitals.

“For the health and wellbeing of the nation, it is pertinent for better attention to be paid to safe water systems. Nigeria cannot develop without a well-thought-out plan on safe water systems,” RCDO said.

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