Borno earmarks N8.2 billion for WASH facilities, others
By Njadvara MUSA, Maiduguri
The Borno State government has budgeted N8.2 billion for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities to fight waterborne diseases in 27 Local Government Areas.
The WASH project facilities to be provided include six mini-water works, 10 earth dams for water supply and irrigation, as well as the construction of dozens of toilets at public places.
General Manager of the State’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Dr. Ali Musa, disclosed this, yesterday (Wednesday), in Maiduguri to mark 2022 World Toilet Day.
According to him, many electricity-powered boreholes will be converted to solar-driven boreholes.
The conversion to solar-powered was to ensure an energy-clean environment in the state.
“Governor Babagana Zulum has approved the construction of six clusters of boreholes with overhead tanks and reticulated to serve various communities in the state.
The Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA), General Manager, Alhaji Abubakar Suleiman, further disclosed that 16% of the population of the State still defecate in the open.
He noted that the State government is committed to end open defecation by 2030, five years after the national deadline.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) WASH Manager in Maiduguri, Mamita Thakkar however, lamented that the progress towards universal sanitation is alarmingly off track.
She said sanitation was unevenly distributed between countries and inadequate to bridge the inequalities to ensure the most vulnerable are reached to be saved from waterborne diseases.
“This is also the most off-track of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) six targets,” she said.
Besides, she said the Joint Monitoring Programme estimated that 3.6 billion people lacked safely managed services.
According to her, the rate at which sanitation coverage was increasing would however; need to scale up to achieve universal access to WASH by 2030.
“Governments have only eight years left to attain the SDGs in 2030,” she said, warning that the window for action is rapidly closing, as the system’s strengthening efforts are key to unlocking progress.
She further warned that; inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soils.
“The human waste also pollutes the water resources of developing countries across the globe,” she said.
She added that the problem seems to be invisible because it occurs among the poorest and most marginalized communities in Nigeria.
Thakkar, therefore, urged the States governments and other development partners to work on average four times faster to ensure everyone has access to safe and sustainable toilets for all by 2030.
Citing Nigeria, the UNICEF boss, said that only 83 percent of the population has access to basic sanitation facilities, while only four percent of the same population has access to safely managed sanitation.
She noted that most of the waste generated in Borno state is untreated by finding its way into rivers and other water bodies to spread cholera and diarrhea.
The Commissioner of Environment, Yerima Saleh said that to end open defecation by 2025, the provision of toilets should be standardized and sustained to global best practices of sanitation and hygiene.
He, therefore, urged the people to adopt the drama presentations on regular hand wash to check for waterborne diseases.
“The campaign against open defecation will be extended to schools, markets and other public places for effective sensitization on the use and sustenance of toilets,” said the environment boss.