The United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Federal, State and Local Governments, said it has provided safe water during the past five years to over 8 million Nigerians living in rural areas.
This was contain in a press statement issued by the United Nation agency as the world marks International Water Day today.
According to UNICEF, recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), conducted by the Government of Nigeria in 2016/17, disclosed that at least 69 millions Nigerians do not have access to safe drinking water and this remains a challenge to a majority of Nigerians, especially those living in rural areas.
The survey indicates that about 40 per cent of households, and about 69 million people, do not have access to clean water sources, the release stated, adding that in rural areas 19 million people walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers.
UNICEF lamented that children without access to safe water are more likely to die in infancy and throughout childhood from waterborne diseases.
“Diarrhea remains the leading cause of death among children under ﬁve years of age in Nigeria. Waterborne diseases also contribute to stunting. A stunted child is shorter than she or he could have been and will never be able to reach her or his full cognitive potential. Lack of safe water and sanitation also makes children vulnerable to other threats beyond health. Many children in rural areas spend hours daily collecting water, missing out on the opportunity to go to school,” it stated
“Improving water and sanitation services, as well as basic hygiene practices in Nigeria, calls for a strong commitment from all partners – the government, the civil society, the private sector and communities,” said Zaid Jurji, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF Nigeria
“For Nigeria to achieve the global goal of providing access to safe water for every citizen by 2030, it needs to make water, together with sanitation and hygiene, a national priority. This goal is closely linked with three key results for the country – good health, environment sustainability and economic prosperity.”