Nigeria restates commitment to providing regular, potable water by 2030

Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has restated the Federal Governments’ commitment towards increasing access to potable water for all Nigerians by 2030.

Adamu said this on the sidelines of the just concluded sixth Africa Water Week in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He said that without universal access to safe water and sanitation, poverty and inequality cannot be eradicated in any country.

“We are working to ensure that all Nigerians have access to potable water by 2030 through urban water sector reform programme. We realise that implementing the first and second urban water reform programmes have resulted in moderate success and improved piped water supply and if we put in more effort, we can achieve more,” he said.

Adamu said that the results from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) showed that Nigeria was not able to meet its target due to sole reliance on budgetary allocation. He said Nigeria would soon launch the National Programme on Partnerships for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH), aimed at meeting Sustainable Development Goal 6 on universal access to water and sanitation.

This programme, according to the minister, is intended to be a partnership between the three tiers of government, development partners and communities to commit funds and mobilise towards meeting SDG 6 by 2030.

“We have also realised that one of the reasons why Nigeria failed to meet the MDGs was because we have been relying only on budgetary allocation from the three tiers of government.

“Due to dwindling resources, there is a huge challenge of scaling up and this is why we must include all other stakeholders,” Adamu said.

He said Nigeria needed to take the lead on its issues, rather than relying only on development partners; adding that Nigeria would do everything possible to reform the water sector because of its centrality to health, agriculture, and other areas of development.

The minister said the Ministry of Water Resources has created a data bank and census for water supply and sanitation for all water infrastructures in the country. He emphasised the need for attitudinal change toward public utilities, saying Nigeria must begin to see the importance of paying for water consumed.

He also stressed the role of political will and commitment from state actors and chief executives in funding water projects; commending the World Bank and other development partners for funding water projects in the country and pledging government`s commitment to increasing fund allocation to water.

Meanwhile, civil society organisations under the banner of Africa civil society Network on Water and sanitation (ANEW), called for an ambitious roadmap to achieving sustainable development goals on water and sanitation as necessary for national development plans of African countries.

Presenting a statement to African Governments through the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the coalition highlighted the urgent need to prioritise water sanitation and hygiene if nations are to achieve Africa’s vision of optimising resources for all Africans and leaving no one behind.

The organisation called on governments to ensure that the commitments of the Ngor declaration on water security and sanitation are aligned to national level implementation plans for achieving Goal 6; challenging governments to ensure a stronger role of civil society at various levels for coordination, communication and improved accountability.

Representing WaterAid CEO, Barbara Frost, Head of WaterAid East Africa Region, Lydia Zigomo challenged governments and stakeholders to utilise the 6th Africa Water Week to agree on a roadmap that will ensure transformational change.

“It cannot be business as usual; we need to increase the pace at all levels in order to reach everyone everywhere in Africa by 2030,” remarked Zigomo.

WaterAid Nigeria’s Head of Governance, Tolani Busari, spoke at the forum about deepening inequalities in the country stressing that WASH specific programming must be combined with programming that tackles the structural causes of inequality and exclusion. She commended the Nigerian government for its efforts so far but highlighted that while the government was moving in the right direction, there remained lots of opportunities to address the widening WASH gaps that remain.

The 6th Africa Water Week (AWW-6), organised by African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), aspires to lay the building blocks for Africa to achieve SDG 6 as well as other inter-linking SDGs connected with water resources management. The week represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.