The Nigerian government has joined hands with UNICEF and various development partners to present an innovative plan to expedite the accessibility of climate-resilient, secure, and lasting water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the country. During the WASH Review Meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday, Professor Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, emphasized that the set target corresponds with the aims of SDGs 6.1 and 6.2, as well as the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) 2025 Roadmap. He stated that this gathering holds utmost significance for all stakeholders in the WASH sector, as it offers an opportunity to evaluate advancements made thus far and deliberate on forthcoming strategies.
He pointed attention to the inequality in the availability of sanitation and hygiene services as opposed to water supply. This issue affects several sectors, including health, education, and the economy, stressing the need to meet the WASH targets under SDG 6 in Nigeria. Furthermore, he highlighted the possible consequences for both the region and the world, considering Nigeria’s important geographical location. Through various initiatives spearheaded by his ministry, he highlighted FG’s commitment to filling gaps in the sector and prioritizing WASH. These efforts encompassed initiatives such as the National Action Plan for WASH Sector Revitalization, the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign, and the Sustainable Urban and Rural WASH (SURWASH) Project, to name a few.
Various initiatives were taken to actualize the SDG goal.
Furthermore, the government’s determination to address Nigeria’s inadequate access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services is fortified by various actions. Examples of such actions include the establishment of a comprehensive National WASH Policy and the formalization of agreements for the implementation of SchoolWASH, YouthWASH and Health WASH Programmes. These measures exhibit the government’s resolute determination to rectify the country’s poor WASH statistics and hasten the provision of sustainable services in schools and public areas. Utsev emphasized the significance of the Yearly WASH Sector Review as a chance for a unified introspection and consensus on a fresh course to expedite the realization of SDG 6.1 and 6.2 in Nigeria.
Dr. Rownak Khan, the Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, stressed the importance of addressing the difficulties experienced by children in the nation. She urged for a deliberate allocation of $9 billion each year to cater to the WASH sector. Khan drew attention to UNICEF’s diverse initiatives designed to secure essential social services for children, specifically concentrating on enabling access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities. Khan unveiled disturbing information regarding the detrimental impact of contaminated water on a considerable proportion of children, indicating that about 68 percent of the accessible water sources were polluted with detrimental microorganisms.
Local individuals will be trained to manage water sources effectively.
UNICEF expressed its commitment to partnering with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that children have the opportunity to access clean water. This collaborative effort will be implemented gradually and progressively. Apart from tackling water pollution, UNICEF is also actively engaged in training local individuals to manage water sources effectively and enhance the availability of hygienic facilities. These dedicated endeavours are an integral part of the Clean Nigeria campaign, striving to eradicate open defecation practices. In addition, UNICEF goes beyond the boundaries of the educational sphere, reaching out to communities where clean water and sanitation are imperative for the well-being of every child, regardless of their attendance at school.
Khan brought up a report released in November that examined how climate change affects children in Nigeria, including challenges like droughts and floods. The deputy representative mentioned that UNICEF intends to work together with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Water and Sanitation to create an action plan addressing these climate-related issues. With the inaugural year of the 2023-2027 implementation cycle, the annual forum provided a platform for important individuals involved to assess the progress made by the FGN/UNICEF WASH initiatives.
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Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, emphasized the significance of collaboration and recognized both the accomplishments and challenges faced in delivering lasting WASH solutions. Represented by Mrs. Elizabeth Ugoh, the Director of Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Shinkafi praised stakeholders for their unwavering dedication, underscoring their commitment to the welfare of every Nigerian citizen. He conveyed his strong belief in the revolutionary alliance and anticipated more remarkable progress in the times ahead while expressing deep appreciation to UNICEF and its associates for their unwavering backing.