By Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment towards the development and implementation of policies and projects capable of enabling sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to meet the social, cultural, environmental and economic development needs of all Nigerians. In an interactive session with journalists in Abuja recently, the minister stated that from 2015 to date, the federal government had initiated some laudable projects and programmes to better the lives of all Nigerians in the water sector.
The minister stated that over the years, the performance of the River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) had not been desirable largely due to policy and institutional inadequacies. According to him, with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the RBDAs had been repositioned to perform optimally as effective vehicles for integrated rural development, as originally envisioned.
He stated that the federal government recently declared a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, adding that tthe goal of the declaration was to strengthen federal-state Partnership towards ensuring that all Nigerians have access to sustainable and safely-managed WASH services by 2030 in compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for water (Goal 6.1) and sanitation (Goal 6.2).
He added that the federal government through the ministry had in 2016 initiated a national programme tagged, “Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PERWASH) as a national collaborative instrument to mobilise resources and harness the efforts of governments at all levels, development partners, private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), philanthropists and communities towards the same objectives and targets of achieving zero per cent open defecation and 100 per cent access to water supply and sanitation by 2030 in accordance with the SDGs.
He also said the wife of the President had graciously accepted to act as the champion to the PEWASH and to mobilise the wives of state governors towards eradicating open defecation. “The government is vigorously implementing programmes for Nigeria to attain open defecation-free status by 2025, well ahead of the SDGs target of 2030,” he said, adding that this was being done in collaboration with development partners. “So far, there are five Local Government Areas in the country that have entirely attained Open Defecation Free (ODF) status,” he stated.