Angered by the rate at which Nigerians suffer from water borne diseases, President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday declared a state of emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygienic sector, (WASH), just as he noted that the nation has been ranked number two in open defecation globally.
”Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25% of our population are practicing open defecation”, he said.
Speaking during the inauguration of the National Action Plan for Revitalization of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre, the special adviser to Mr President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying:
”Access to piped water services which was 32% in 1990 has declined to 7% in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015.
”Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25% of our population are practicing open defecation.
”WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46% of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70% of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27% in 2015 which is far below the 0.70% at the West African regional level”.
Buhari, therefore, directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs. The President described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country as ”disturbing”, warning that henceforth, Federal Government support to State Governments will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective States and to end open defecation by 2025.