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Commercialize Nigeria’s public water system

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By Nicole

Nigeria's water supply should get a big boost from the private sector.

Mr. Suleiman Adamu, Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, has urged the Private Sector to contribute to the nation’s supply of potable water. When he was a guest on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja he made the statement. He claimed that spending money on utilities would put an end to the continued politicking and lack of dedication on the part of state and local governments. The minister claims that, in accordance with the constitution, it is the duty of the state governments to provide water to the people.

He promised that the Federal Government would continue to do its part to keep its dams filled with water all year long. Adamu said it was concerning that many Nigerians believed that water was a social service that should be provided without charge and argued that, when used wisely, water could be a valuable economic resource. He claimed that efforts were being made to corporately restructure water agencies so they could generate income in a long-term way in collaboration with development partners. A state-owned organization or asset is corporatized when it is transformed into a corporation.

Corporate social responsibility has been entrusted to the private sector.

The minister claimed that as part of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene strategy, the private sector and charitable organizations had been approached to engage in activities related to corporate social responsibility that would provide water for the people. According to Adamu, one of the best ways to encourage private sector Investment is to increase the capacity of water institutions through an efficient regulatory framework like the proposed Water Resources Bill. With an effective public water supply, the minister argued that Nigeria had no business drilling indiscriminately for Boreholes in response to the proliferation of them in the nation. He claimed that while borehole drilling could not be stopped by the federal government, the possibility of groundwater depletion was alarming.

According to him, licenses must be issued to businesses that mine water without restriction, and he gives the impression that those who break the rules will soon face consequences. Regarding the country’s river basin development, he claimed that the basin authorities had fulfilled their obligation to create jobs by transferring 50,000 hectares of land for industrial farming. He also stated that for optimal performance and repositioning, the ministry had started the partial commercialization of the Niger-Delta, Ogun-Osun, Upper-Niger, and Sokoto-Rima River basins in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

Introduction of river training to control recurrent flooding of rivers.

Adamu officially confirmed the implementation of river training to control the Niger and Benue rivers’ recurrent flooding in an effort to prevent disasters and humanitarian crises. He claimed that the ministry’s Annual Flood Outlook 2022 had shown widespread severe flooding, necessitating the need for Nigerians to exercise caution. He stated that the river training would involve dredging, the Construction of some structural elements, such as dykes or embankments, as well as the reclamation of some floodplains.

Having a masterplan was the first step, adding that the proposed river training would cost about $14 billion and would take more than one administration to complete. While citing examples of developed nations’ attempts to tame their rivers, such as Hungary, Adamu claimed that Nigeria would learn from their mistakes and effectively implement their methods. The minister continued by discussing Nigeria’s hosting of the World Toilet Summit in November, saying it would be an opportunity to highlight the nation’s initiatives to expand sanitation and hygiene. He claimed that having access to a toilet was the most affordable Medicine and that it was an investment that could solve more than 60% of all the nation’s health issues.

Poor water access is linked to a higher burden enteric disease.

High morbidity and mortality rates among children under five are largely caused by a lack of access to better water and sanitation in Nigeria. Due to the use of contaminated drinking water and unsanitary conditions, people are more susceptible to water-borne illnesses, such as diarrhea, which kills more than 70,000 children under the age of five every year. A lack of access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is linked to 73% of the burden of diarrheal and enteric diseases, which is disproportionately carried by children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Children who experience WASH-related illness on a regular basis are more likely to miss school and suffer from Malnutrition. Only 26.5% of the population utilizes modernized sanitation and drinking water systems.


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