BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The minister of Water resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu has attributed the setbacks in the water and sanitation sector to poor investment by the State governments, adding that the federal government is not responsible for providing water in the taps.
He stated this in Abuja yesterday at the 2021 Nigerian Institute of Water Engineers’ (NIWE) public lecture & investiture ceremony of Engr Chinyere Nnenna Igwegbe as the 6th National president of NIWE with the theme, “Reconciling Bragging Rights with Human Rights in the Nigerian Water Sector”.
Adamu encouraged states to invest more in water and sanitation, as Jigawa is one the States with 86 percent water supply coverage in the country, urging them to setup more sanitation and hygiene projects.
On operation and maintenance, he said the existing facilities in the states are operating between 35 and 40 percent, saying that lack of investment is a big challenge and one area he hoped NIWE and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) could join forces in their advocacy to the states.
In her inaugural speech, Engr Chinyere Nnenna Igwegbe assured that NIWE would partner with other stakeholders to collectively address the issues in the water sector in terms of development, calling on the media to enlighten Nigerians on the need to manage water.
She linked climate change as part of the challenges in the water sector not just dearth of infrastructure, commending the federal government for addressing part of the problems bordering on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
The guest speaker, who is also the managing partner/CEO of Mangrove & Partners Limited, Tpl Timeyin Uwejamomere said the absence of states’s commitment in WASH is why half of the entire hospital beds are occupied by needless illnesses from water borne diseases and the avoidable deaths of over 100,000 Nigerians annually, with over 87,000 being children.
He said currently, that 70 percent of water services are provided by non-state actors like the non-governmental organisations while 64 percent are sourced from families”.
According to him, “The path to Nigeria’s greatness lies very much in the readiness and ability of every engineer to invent and create something from nothing, to address the challenges of water and sanitation or to refine traditional irrigation system and food processing, storage and preservation”.