UNICEF Commends Mbah’s Political Will on SDGs

*Enugu on course to end open defecation by 2025, Gov

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has expressed satisfaction with the commitment, dedication, and political will of the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, to actualise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasising its readiness to partner with the state government to realise its objectives.

This was even as Governor Mbah restated sustained provision of safe water, dignified sanitation and good hygiene as his government’s priorities, stressing the state government’s preparedness to meet the target of ending open defecation by 2025.

The Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), UNICEF Nigeria, Dr Jane Bevan, stated this during the presentation of a WASH Master Plan by the international agency to the governor at the Government House, Enugu, on Monday.

Briefing newsmen, Bevan said: “We came here today to present this very preliminary outline master plan for achieving the SDGs by 2030.

“I think that with the commitment and dedication that the governor has demonstrated to me today, I really think that Enugu is on the right track and could definitely achieve this.

“Efforts are made on all the investments, in human resources, in infrastructure and behaviour change as well as the private sector.

“There are so many different elements that will need to come together in order to make water, sanitation, and hygiene happen in the state. But I think the governor has got strong political will and he can make it happen”.

Also speaking, Governor Mbah, while appreciating the support of UNICEF so far, said the administration had since inauguration declared a state of emergency on water provision because of the importance of water to life itself.

He said that with the setting up of the State Economic Planning Commission where the governor and the local government chairmen meet once every month to discuss and chart development plans, it is easy for the local governments to immediately set up and take ownership of WASH projects across the state to ensure that open defecation is ended by 2025.

“Recall that we recognised from the outset, the very importance of water to our lives. We have from inauguration, embarked on very aggressive campaign towards water for our city and rural dwellers.

“So, we have the honour of hosting the Chief of WASH, UNICEF Nigeria, who came to present to us, beyond a baseline, a very detailed document, identifying the critical challenges we have in the area of WASH and we have also gone through those areas of challenges.

“In the presentations are also pillars that we need and things we could do to help us achieve certain milestones by the SDG goals and we also have a target to ensure that by 2025, we have an end to open defecation in Enugu State”, Mbah stated.

On urban water supply, Mbah said: “We made a promise to our people that in 180 days from our swearing-in, we will provide water on a regular basis in our metropolis and it is 102 days left. I am pleased to inform you that, with what we have on ground, we are going to beat that deadline.

“We know that we need a minimum of 100,000 cubic of water daily in Enugu city. So, the current plan we have will see us generating, in less than eight weeks, more than 120,000 cubic metres of water.

“We are fixing the leakages we have in our reservoirs. So we are going to ensure no water is leaking from the reservoirs. We are able to deploy the whole water we are generating to the people. We are expanding the reticulation from the distribution side of things. So, we are taking this coverage to ensure the entire city is covered. The new layouts that were not originally captured are being captured”.

Also on the UNICEF delegation were Chiranjibi Tiwari, WASH Manager, UNICEF Abuja; Dr. Olusoji Akinley, Chief of Field Office , UNICEF Enugu; and Timi Kiakubu, WASH Specialist, UNICEF Enugu.

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