Just $1.26 has been received in water and sanitation aid for each person in Nigeria on average for the years 2010-2012, according to a startling new report titled: “Bridging the Divide” released a week ago by the international development charity, WaterAid on the eve of World Water Day 2014.
This is despite, 63.2 million people in Nigerian (39 percent of the population) not having access to clean drinking water and 112.7 million (69 percent of the population) going without basic access to sanitation.
The report argues that international water and sanitation aid is failing to reach those in greatest need, exacerbating global inequalities rather than reducing them. Overall, Nigeria has received on average $205.41 million per year in water and sanitation aid, for the years 2010-2012.
Dr Michael Ojo, WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, said: “The stated aim of international aid is to help the world’s poor break out of poverty and to live healthy and productive lives – and to positively address our fundamentally unequal world. With nearly 100,000 children under the age of five dying every year in Nigeria because of a lack of access to clean drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene; why is not more water and sanitation aid being targeted at those who are desperately waiting for these essential services in our country?”
Over 330,000 people across the world last week took part in World Walks for Water and Sanitation events in solidarity with the hundreds of millions still forced to walk for water. The global mass movement, led by the campaign coalition, End Water Poverty, is demanding universal and sustainable access to water and sanitation.
Similarly, WaterAid Nigeria organised a 7km walk for water to help raise awareness about the continuing water and sanitation crisis in Nigeria, mobilising the voices of Nigerians and providing a platform for them to be heard. The walk was held in conjunction with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Water Resources. The Minister for Water Resources was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Umar Baba Farouk.
The walk was attended by nearly 500 participants including the Ministry of Power, various youth groups, Oxfam, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria and members of Nigeria’s National Assembly.
Despite globally one in 10 people lacking access to clean drinking water, and more than one in three without access to basic sanitation, most donors still allocate relatively low priority to aid spending to tackle this crisis, accounting in 2012 for just six percent of overall donor aid.
In addition, much of the promised aid fails to be delivered. Over the past decade donors have failed – for reasons unclear – to pass on a third of the money they pledged to spend on water and sanitation aid, or $27.6 billion out of the $81.2 billion since 2002 that has been committed.
The WaterAid report comes ahead of crucial discussions at the World Bank in Washington in April (10-11), where the Sanitation and Water for All partnership will hold its third High-Level Meeting. Ministers from Nigeria alongside other developing and donor country Ministers will meet to discuss the water and sanitation crisis.
WaterAid Nigeria is calling for a dedicated goal on universal access to water and sanitation, as part of the new global post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals so that everyone, everywhere has access to these life giving necessities no later than 2030.
By Michael Simire