At least 15 million Nigerians are benefitting from water supply projects in different parts of the country.
The Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, made this known on Sunday, October 2, 2022, while answering questions on Sunday, as a guest on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja.
Adamu said that the present administration inherited many uncompleted projects when it came into power in 2015.
According to him, the Federal Government alone provides water for more than 15 million people in the last few years.
“So, let me say this based on the rational report that we’ve done on Federal Government’s intervention alone.
“Because we inherited a lot of uncompleted projects like water supply, Zungeru-Wushishi water supply, Zobe water supply. Zobe project for instance, started in 1992.
“It was never finished then. But we finished it under this administration.
“We are almost likely to finish also Otta, which the project started in either 2003 or 2004. We’re working on it too.
“There are many others like Takum, Mangu, and a host of other projects. So we’ve been working with all those projects to ensure they are completed,” Adamu said.
The minister said that in the rational report, the present administration found out that 30 per cent of the population were enjoying pipe borne water.
Adamu alleged that the previous administration the government took over from left the country in a bad situation, adding that the present dministration was making every effort to ensure that Nigeria recorded progress.
“Where the world is going forward, we should also be making progress, we actually met the situation retrogressing.
“As soon as we came on board, in 2015, we changed the theme of our National Council on Water Resources to address the issues of urban water.
“Then the President declared a state of emergency in November 2018 on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and we launched a new National WASH Action Plan,” he said.
Adamu said in the action plan, responsibilities were shared among federal, states and local government levels.
“Now, this is what the federal should do.This is what the states should do, and this is what the local governments should do,” he said.
Adamu said that the ministry also launched the Clean Nigeria Campaign, followed by an executive order, thereby, giving strength to the campaign.
He said that the ministry introduced the concept of a WASH fund in the Natural Water Resources Bill.
Adamu added that the fund was not for the federal, but for the states and local levels, to enable them improve on water projects.
The minister said that there were other interventions by the ministry, such as Small Towns Water Supply Programme, National Urban Water Sector Reform Programme, among others.
He said that the World Bank supported the ministry in the implementation of the programmes.
Adamu said that the World Bank also provided $700 million to the Federal Government to support urban, natural water supply and sanitation in the country.
“Seven states will be enjoying $350 million. This is going to our campaign to improve sanitation and hygiene in the country.
“So, everything that we need to do at the federal level to support improvement of sanitation, hygiene and water supply in this country, we have done that,” he said.
According to him, a total of 66,761 water schemes providing potable water to Nigerians have been developed by the Mohammadu Buhari since it came to power.
The Minister of Water Resources said the schemes were developed across urban centres, small towns and rural areas.
Adamu asserted that the government has made considerable progress in providing access to potable water in Nigeria.
The minister said the water schemes have been producing a total of 794,334,000 litres daily and serving 32,008,600 Nigerians.
Adamu also spoke on efforts made by the Federal Government to boast agriculture and food security of the nation.
Towards this end, the minister disclosed that 10 irrigation schemes were completed in the country, increasing the actual irrigated area from 70,000 hectares in 2015 to 138,000 hectares presently.
“To support the country’s energy sufficiency, 12 dams were completed with combined water impoundment capacity of 795.1 MCM and hydropower generation of 110 MW.
“Efforts have also been put in place to utilize hydropower potential of 3,466 MW under PPP arrangement,” he said.
While speaking about achievements in sanitation sector, Adamu announced that 3,402 facilities were constructed in institutions and public places.
He listed the locations of these facilities to include markets, schools, motor parks, and camps for internally displaced persons.
“Also, a national survey conducted under the 2021 WASHNORM III reported a national access to basic drinking water supply services at 67 per cent and access to basic sanitation services stood at 46 per cent,” Adamu added.
He said that programmes and projects developed under water resources sector were in line with the nine priority areas of the Mohammadu Buhari administration.
He disclosed that government plans to enforce the mandatory water test policy for drilling of boreholes and other water projects.
Adamu said this policy is part of Federal Government’s efforts to strengthen its National Reference Laboratories to solve the problems of water quality, standards and monitoring in Nigeria.
“We are going to come up with a policy in all our water projects that when you drill boreholes, part of the condition is you must do water tests,” he said.
Adamu said that periodic water test and quality water surveillance were being carried out in adherence to the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality.
“For our own projects, the water quality test should be conducted within our laboratories.
“In that way we keep them busy, but we also use the laboratories for surveillance because we are also in charge of water quality surveillance.
“So, periodically, we go out, we test not only existing water supply schemes, but also the rivers with the source of the raw water,” he said.
Adamu said that the ministry was equally giving priority to the completion of the National Reference Laboratories.
“We give priority to the completion of the laboratories. They are among the projects that we prioritise for completion, and we are working very hard to complete them.
“One of the things we are looking at is completion, is that we’ll take a few that can be run directly by the government.
“We may also align some of them with universities or maybe some arrangement for others to run them,” he said.
The minister said this was because there were certain tests or certain situations where one needed to authenticate some of the water quality tests.
He reiterated that the priority of the Federal Government is to complete the already existing laboratory to strengthen them and authenticate water quality tests.
Adamu explained that sometimes, when there was an outbreak of infections, relevant tests were conducted to authenticate some of the hypotheses around the causes of the infections.
He urged all relevant stakeholders to intensify effort on improving access to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), as it will bring open defecation in the country to an end.
Adamu said that efforts by states, local governments and other stakeholders would arrest the development of open defecation practice.
He said that the Federal Government would promote a sustainable access to good WASH at all levels of government.
Adamu said that his ministry had trained about 100 volunteers from the 36 states on advocacy to improve sanitation in various communities.
“The ministry sent the volunteers out to various communities to engage in awareness on how the communities can improve on WASH and they have done relatively good work.
“At least you can see even the reduced incidences of COVID-19 pandemic will probably be supported and there is a lot of awareness going on, on how to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
“But for us, what is most important is that these 100 volunteers per local government are vanguards for the continued advocacy to improve WASH in our communities,” he said.
The minister expressed hope that some states that had taken the initiative would build on the legacy, though some had not commenced.
“As you know, we don’t all progress at the same speed, however, the Federal Government has made available, resources for advocacy.
“It is a volunteer service. The only thing is that we gave them a stipend of N20,000 each every month for transportation and I have advised the state commissioners to harness Federal Government effort,’’ he said.
Adamu said that he had a meeting with all the state commissioners, adding that the effort was to ensure that open defecation practice was eradicated, through a strong campaign on access to WASH.
He said that the campaign could not just end in the FCT alone, adding that it must be something all Nigerians should be engaged in.
Adamu said that the ministry had set up a National WASH Committee on Response to COVID-19, during the pandemic with all the state commissioners, adding that the essence was to improve on access to WASH.
According to him, the campaign is something that is top-down, down-up and horizontal adding that everybody should be involved.
“So, we should not be looking at it as, where is the Federal Minister of Water Resources?
“No, I think by now the question we should start asking state chief executives is, what are the states and local governments doing, to ensure that the campaign on open defecation practice is effective.
“Every year we have the WASH national outline routine mapping that we do. It is a survey that we do,” Adamu said.
He said that in doing the survey, the ministry gave every state data on the progress they had made on sanitation, hygiene and water supply and they could see these in relation to what other states were doing.
“This is evidence, because if you have the evidence, then it should be able to help you to redirect your policies to see where you need to change your source.
“So, at the federal level we have done everything we need to do to support the states and it is up to the local governments and the individuals to adequately make their contributributions.
“These are part of the effort that we are making to ensure that open defecation practice ends in the country,’’ Adamu said.
By Vivian Emoni and Doris Esa