By Chioma Obinna
JOS—THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said Nigeria needs at least $8 billion (N2.88 trillion) annual investment in water and sanitation to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, by 2030.
Chief of UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Nigeria, Mr. Zaid Jurji, who disclosed this, lamented that less than 10 percent of Nigerians had access to safe water, while 90 percent had no access to safe drinking water.
Decrying the impact of unsafe water and poor sanitation to every part of human life, particularly the development and survival of children, he warned that if Nigeria continued with the slow progress, the country might fail to achieve the SDG Goal 6 by 2030.
Speaking on the overview of water, sanitation and hygiene situation in the country during a two-day media dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, in Jos, Plateau State, Jurji called for more budgeting allocations to WASH, arguing that if Nigeria should triple its investment to a minimum of 1.7 percent from the current 0.6 percent GDP, it would meet the SDG by 2030.
He said: “The country will only beat the target by investing $8 billion annually until 2030. Sanitation and water has a big impact on health, economy, children and everything about life.”
‘25% practise open defecation’
Speaking on the hygiene situation in the country, the UNICEF scribe disclosed that the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey released for 2016/207 showed that 25 percent of Nigerians defecated in the open; a situation he said was more than Canada population.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Deputy Director, Child Right Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Olumide Osanyinpeju, noted that water, sanitation and hygiene were very important in the life of a child as SDG 6 clearly emphasised the importance of clean water and sanitation.
His words: “Water is essential for the survival and development of all children. Without water, children simply cannot stay alive or thrive.”
On his part, Plateau State Commissioner for Health, David Wuyep, who declared the event open, said UNICEF had continued to assist the state in providing water for residents.