By Tarkaa David, Abuja –
The United Nation’s deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed has said that over 57 per cent of Nigerians have no access to clean water, while 56 per cent lack decent sanitation facilities.
Amina stated this at the 10th anniversary of water support charity organisation in Abuja over the weekend.
She said that over the years, water and sanitation has remained an alarming global challenge that we all must work together to address.
She commended the organisation for providing water to 35 communities in 16 states and declared the readiness of the UN to support Nigeria to provide access to water and toilet facilities to its citizens.
This commitment is in line with the sustainable development goal six which seeks to ensure access to water and sanitation come 2030.
In her opening remarks, the charity president Fatima Bukar said that the water support charity organisation was initiated in 2007 by students studying at the university level in the United kingdom to give ‘just a drink for life’ to communities in deplorable conditions.
Fatima said that the idea has today provided water to over one million Nigerians in the span of just 10 years.
“ In our journey so far, we were opportune to meet amazing individuals struggling and surviving in deplorable conditions of water scarcity and poor sanitation, to hear their stories of hardship and survival, stories of women backing their babies and walking several miles every day to collect unsafe and unhygienic water from an open source, makes one feel guilty of not making an effort to change their situation.
“To date, the impact of our activities covers close to a million people, in 38 communities of 16 states of the federation, having successfully dug 14 wells and 24 boreholes in total, through collaborative efforts, support and encouragement from individuals and organizations some of whom are here celebrating with us today, so JDL’s success,” she said
Fatima noted that the journey to give safe water to these communities came with great challenges both technical and financial which persistence, perseverance and zee to succeed led to reinventions.
She, however, revealed that out of the 38 projects, 12 are still functional and 20 are in a state of disrepair, adding that the remaining 6 are now in hostile territories and are inaccessible.
The charity president further noted that due to the assessment status of the phase one projects, the organisation will now encourage community engagement and ownership of these projects for sustainability.
“From inception our goal was to provide ‘just a drink for life’ by making water accessible, we now aim to incorporate the global best practice of providing water, sanitation and hygiene practices (WASH) into our programme and all existing projects in the phase one.
“Phase two is up next and our target is to build more water structures, rehabilitate all existing projects and incorporate WASH programme where needed in these communities and new ones, encourage community engagement and ownership as this will ensure sustainability,” she said.
She commended the efforts of the government in tackling issues in the north east through the president’s committee on north east initiative and most recently the North east commission.