The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says 69 million Nigerians do not have access to safe water.
Zaid Jurji, chief of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), UNICEF Nigeria, said this while substantiating the recent multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2016/17, which indicated that about 40 percent of households lack access to clean water sources.
Jurji, citing a statement signed by Eva Hinds, UNICEF communications specialist, said: “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.”
“Access to safe drinking water remains a challenge to majority of Nigerians, especially those living in the rural areas. The recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the government of Nigeria in 2016/17, indicated that about 40 per cent of households and about 69 million people do not have access to clean water sources.
“In the rural areas, 19 million people walk long distances to collect unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers. Children without access to safe water are more likely to die in infancy and throughout childhood from water-borne 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 he or she could have been, and will never be able to reach his or her full cognitive potential. Lack of safe water and sanitation also makes children vulnerable to other threats beyond health. Many children in rural areas spend several hours daily collecting water, missing out on the opportunity to go to school.”
UNICEF, in collaboration with the federal, state and local governments, has provided safe water to over eight million Nigerians living in rural areas in the past five years.