By Tosin Kolade
The Development Innovations Group (DIG), an International Organisation, on Thursday, urged the 36 state water boards in the country to ensure provision of potable water for the citizens.
Mr Timeyin Uwejamomere, Programme Director of the group made the call during the inauguration of the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of Water Supply and Hygiene Sector in Abuja.
According to him, it is the responsibility of the state governments, through their water agencies to provide potable water for Nigerians.
He said that many water utilities agencies at the state level were performing far below expectations.
He emphasised that accountability was critical in the sector, and said that large investments by government and development partners had not yielded positive results.
“I think the governors need to hold the state water boards accountable, they could help by giving support to deliver water, it is a shame that some states don’t have functioning water boards for many years; taps have not run.
“I grow up fetching water from the public taps, but my children are growing up without water in the taps.
“So, we need to address it, and our governors need to take responsibility for it,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for training and re-training of personnel of the state water utilities to make their agencies viable commercial entities.
“Nigeria’s main challenge is around the people who manage our utilities, the staff of the state water utilities. We need to train our utility officers and we need to retrain them to begin to introduce commercial orientation.
“We need to train them to behave like business people who have to sell water and earn income from selling water, rather than wait on subventions.’’
Uwejamomere said that with unhindered access to potable water, number of women and girls facing sexual abuse and violence could be reduced.
He said that availability of potable water would also enhance enrollment and retention of girls in school.
“I think it is important that Nigeria is beginning to think about its future and the future of its people, particularly our children who die every day from lack of water and sanitation.
“Also are our girls who also miss work and most important our women who suffer the hardships of fetching water every day and are exposed to abuse from having to do open defecation,’’ he added.
He described the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of Water Supply and Hygiene Sector as a welcome development, calling for the use of right competencies, available resources and financial investments to ensure its full implementation.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu recently estimated that 62 per cent of Nigerians lacked access to potable water and sanitation.
NAN also reports that the minister called for immediate deliberate commitment and collaboration towards achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030.