Thursday, February 9, 2017 10:25 am
Mr Benson Attah, National Coordinator, Society for Water and Sanitation SWS, has called for the review of Nigeria’s National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy so as to align it with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Attah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that the policy’s review would facilitate efforts to achieve universal coverage for safe water supply and sanitation by 2030.
He said that the current National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy, which was approved in 2000, had highlighted the need to achieve the newly adopted SDGs, particularly its Target Six which involved the supply of safe drinking water and sanitation.
“This necessitates a review of the existing strategies that have not worked; the formulation and development of new policy instruments, guidelines, strategies and funding mechanisms.
“There is the need for sustained allocation of sectoral rules and responsibilities to turn the dream of universal coverage of safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 into a reality,’’ he said.
Attah urged the 36 state governments in the country to review and update their water supply and sanitation policies, saying that urban and rural water supply and sanitation schemes were the statutory responsibility of state and local governments.
He stressed that it was unfortunate that Nigeria, in spite of its enormous financial resources, was not able to achieve some of the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs), particularly its target on water supply and sanitation.
Attah, therefore, called for a renewed commitment to achieving the SDGs for water supply and sanitation.
“In the SDGs, there is a much more ambitious water and sanitation target because it calls for universal coverage of safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2030.
“Now is the time for federal and state governments in Nigeria to start making ambitious plans and allocating adequate resources to programmes aimed at achieving the SDG for water supply and sanitation.
“New policy declarations, strategy documents and implementation guidelines developed in this regard must be backed by firm political commitment and action.
“We have another 15 years to give our people access to safe drinking water and it is our belief that15 years are enough to eradicate open defecation in Nigeria.
“Fifteen years are enough to stop the incidence of preventable infant and maternal diseases, particularly diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid, in Nigeria.
“Fifteen years are enough to ensure that every Nigerian citizen has access to safe drinking water supply and sanitation services.
“Now is the time to update our national and state policy instruments, sector strategies and implementation guidelines,’’ he added.
Attah said that adequate public financing and strong political will would go a long way in facilitating efforts to achieve Goal Six of the SDGs which entailed water supply and sanitation.