Kuni Tyessi, Abuja
In order to promote socio-economic activities in Niger Delta and promote peace through increased access to safe and sustainable water supply, the European Union has released 20 million euros to the region.
This was revealed recently in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom State capital during a media dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) by UNICEF WASH specialist, Engr. Moustapha Niang.
He said the project which is called the Niger Delta Support Project (NDSP) is a five-year project aimed at mitigating the conflict in the Niger-delta region by addressing causes of non-availability of potable water and bring lasting solutions.
He said “In Nigerian only about 57.48 percent of the total population have access to improved water supply and of this percentage, the Niger-delta region make up of only 16.57 per cent (32 million) of the population (190 million) with access to improved water supply.
“It is a peculiar project which has being designed to address the challenges in the region with an overall funding which is 20 million euros. The objective is to mitigate the conflict in the region by addressing the main causes and bringing lasting solutions.”
Others include “to increase access to safe and sustainable water supply services in rural communities and the self-selected Local Government Areas, as well as to improve sanitation and proper hygiene practice in rural communities and schools amongst others” he said.
He said of all the Niger-delta states, Bayelsa is worst hit with serious issue of ground water contamination (either chemical or biological) with some parts having problems of iron.
“There are cases of feacal contamination some months after boreholes are drilled and in use. There are cases of nitrate contamination also due to seepage from nearby latrines and use of fertilisers and pesticides for agricultural purposes.”