Nigeria is currently not on tract on water and sanitation, the United Nation’s Children Fund, UNICEF, has said. The organization stated this in a statement made available to National Mirror by its Communications Consultant in Nigeria, Geoffrey Njoku, to mark this year’s World Water Day. According to UNICEF, the challenge of water and sanitation is enormous worldwide, adding that nearly 2.5 billion people around the world still “do not have adequate toilets and among them one billion defecate in the open.” It explained further that given the enormity of challenge worldwide, the Millennium Development Goal targeted halving the
percentage of the global population without access to safe water and over 110 million people without access to improved sanitation. “Nigeria is currently not on-track with regard to its attainment of Water and Sanitation targets,” UNICEF said.
“The poor bear the greatest brunt of this lack of access to water and sanitation. For women and girls, collecting water cuts into time they can spend caring for families and studying. In insecure areas, it also puts them at risk of violence and attack. UNICEF estimates that in Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking to collect water.
“For children, lack of access to safe water can be tragic. On average, nearly 1,000 of them die globally every day from diarrhoeal diseases linked to unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, or poor hygiene,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, UNICEF said some 2.3 billion people had gained access to improved sources of drinking water since 1990, adding that through its efforts and support from European Union, EU and UKAid funding in Nigeria, 2.5 million people had gained access to safe water in rural areas in the country. “This year’s theme on World Water Day, which falls on 22nd March, is “Water and Sustainable Development”. The theme aptly encapsulates the overarching role of water in our lives, be it for human consumption, food production, for health, for power generation, for industry and for the sustenance of nature as a whole, without which life would not exist.”