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94% of Nigeria’s primary health centres lack access to clean water — UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says only six percent of primary healthcare centres across Nigeria have access to clean water. Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in…

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says only six percent of primary healthcare centres across Nigeria have access to clean water.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

He said Nigeria’s continued reliance on surface water sources might lead to acute shortage, impacting negatively on livelihoods and wellbeing of the population.

He said due to population growth, Nigeria made slow progress in improving access to potable water for the citizens, with access only at 10 percent, calling for more investments in the sector.

“Nigeria relies a lot on the water table and on surface water. The water table with climate change and the massive population, Nigeria potentially has a crisis looming in the future.

“I’m talking about 10, 20, 30 years and its reliance on surface water, without the infrastructure to meet it, is always going to be a burden on the country.

“So, it has to look at different ways of capturing water, making water available, especially in the urban areas; piping water and making it better available, that’ll require a considerable investment.”

He said the biggest progress in the sector was the declaration of a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.

He said this had led to more local governments becoming open defecation-free and communities taking ownership of their sanitation and hygiene needs.

Hawkins said UNICEF had introduced the annual Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) Report for all stakeholders to monitor progress made in water and sanitation at the state level.

According to the 2021 WASHNORM Report, 23 percent of Nigerians lack access to basic water supply services and only 10 per cent of the population have access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services combined. 

He said Nigeria needed N3bn water investment annually otherwise the country would face serious consequences over the next 20, 30 years. (NAN)