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WaterAid Launches 5-year Strategy to Improve Water, Sanitation Services for 17m Nigerians

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WaterAid Nigeria on Tuesday formally launched its new five-year Country Programme Strategy, to improve access to basic water and sanitation services for 17 million Nigerians.

At the event in Abuja, the organisation’s Country Director, Ms Evelyn Mere, said the strategy was crucial to ensure that everyone had access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

According to her, WaterAid is collaborating with multiple stakeholders in addressing the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) challenges facing Nigerians, especially the poor and the vulnerable.

She said the organisation, at the global level, recently launched a 10-year strategy.

Mere said: ”This is to see that by 2032, through its work in Nigeria and other parts of the world, 400 million more people are reached with sustainable, safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

“With a population of over 200 million, we plan to have Nigeria contribute substantially to those numbers.

”Secondly, this is to ensure increased annual financing for WASH in low-and middle-income countries to the tune of $15 billion.

“We have invited you today to launch a strategy that you are part of developing. In doing this, we are further urging you to join us as we commence the journey of implementation.

“You are indispensable co-travelers in our quest to reach 10,000,000 people directly through our interventions with basic WASH services and behaviours and influence improved basic WASH access for 17,000,000 more people”.

Mere said WaterAid Nigeria was conscious of the rapidly changing context in the world and its peculiar dynamics, hence the need to respond to emerging issues and the changing landscape around WASH.

She added that the strategy laid out the blueprint for maximising emerging opportunities through systemic change and accelerating impact over the next five years.

The country director said the commitment was to ensure that women could improve their productivity and realise their rights to a good education and live free of the risk of gender-based violence.

This, she added, would also see that high rates of maternal and infant mortality due to poor WASH became a distant memory.

Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, said Nigeria was strategic country in the drive to achieve the global WASH targets under SDG 6.

Adamu said; “Nigeria’s progress or otherwise in this regard will have great impact at the regional and global levels.

“Some of the most recent initiatives include the initiation of the development of a National WASH Policy for which a multi-stakeholder oversight committee has been inaugurated.

“The signing of Memoranda of Understanding for the take off of the SchoolWASH, HealthWASH and YouthWASH Programmes in collaboration with the relevant Ministries is also one step.

“These high-level initiatives clearly demonstrate the strong political will of the Federal Government in reversing the narrative on Nigeria’s poor WASH indices and accelerating access to sustainable services.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had consistently ensured the implementation of policies and programmes designed to address identified sector gaps.

Adamu added: ”This is to improve access to services and demonstrate Government’s commitment and prioritisation of WASH.”

Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Didi Walson-Jack, said that the strategy would achieve universal, sustainable and safe access to influence change and strengthen WASH resilience to climate change.

The minister added that the administration was bequeathing these initiatives as a legacy to the next administration, with the hope that it would be sustained in order to move the WASH sector in Nigeria to the next level.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that within the last 27 years, WaterAid Nigeria has been working to ensure that Nigerians have access to clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene.

This was being done through Systems Strengthening, Partnerships and Empowering Citizens and stakeholders in addressing the WASH challenges facing Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable. (NAN)

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Environment

Prolonged Public Holidays Come with Negative Economic Effects on Citizens – Anambra Residents

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Anambra residents have slammed the additional day approved by the Federal Government for the Muslim faithful to celebrate the 2024 Eid-Ei-Fitr, saying this will have negative effects on the economy.

The Federal government had early declared April 9 and 10 as Muslim-Ummah for the successful completion of a month’s spiritual rejuvenation.

Reports says that residents of Anambra capital city believe that the additional day which they did not plan for will result in economic hardship to the citizenry.

Most respondents believe that people had planned to resume their economic activities instead of wasting their time staying at home doing nothing..

Former Chairman, Awka Chamber of Commerce, Chief Felly Akosa, described the additional day to the two days approved earlier as “unfair to the economy of the country as people were unprepared for the additional day.

Akosa said that although it is right for the Muslim faithful to celebrate their holiday after a month-long fasting, the process needs to be carefully planned for in place of the additional rest day which could inhibit business activities.

Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, National Vice President of Igbo Apex Social Cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the policy would cause huge economic waste as businesses are put on hold,

He advised that, in future, a proper and well planned programme needs to be in place before declaring a public holiday for any celebration that will be national.

“Our economy and other sectors are not very healthy,” and it would, therefore be appropriate to plan well to avoid declarations that will hamper the citizens’ welfare.

Mazi Christian Beluchukwu, a business man in Awka, described the extension of the Eid-El-Fitr public holiday to Thursday, April 11, as an added hardship for the citizenry.

Beluchukwu said that any public holiday for three days, April 9 to 11, to celebrate any feast in the country is an economic loss to the nation.

He said that it was best to stick to the two-day national public holidays as this gives room for the people to plan their activities very well.

He stated that his wife went to a public hospital on Tuesday and was unattended to because there was no doctor on seat to provide medical attention.

“She resorted to visiting a private hospital which cost extra money which the public hospital is expected to handle at a reasonable cost. (NAN)

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Environment

World Bank Fund: Corporation Rehabilitates Treatment Plant, Reticulation in Jos South

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The Jos Water Services Corporation (JWSC) has said that the World Bank fund received would be used to boost water supply to Bukuru and environs in Jos South Local Government Area.

Mr Apollos Samchi, the Managing Director of the corporation, said that N1.7 billion would be expended on the rehabilitation of water treatment plant, over head steel tank and laying of pipes to homes of consumers.

Samchi, who disclosed this on Friday in Jos, during a two-day capacity building workshop, said that the projects were expected to be completed in four months.

Reports says that the workshop organised for contractors has at its theme: “Implementation of Environmental and Social Management Plans for Projects in Jos South.

The MD said that the projects would ensure steady provision of potable water to residents in Gyel and Kurgiya in Jos South Local Government Area.

He said the treatment plant when rehabilitated would pump out 5,000 cubic litres of water daily.

The MD further stated that the reticulation exercise would cover residents who weren’t initially connected to public water supply in the area.

Samchi said that the essence of the workshop was to ensure that the contractors were trained to develop adequate measures and controls to minimise and mitigate potential environmental and social risks that could adversely affect the project implementation.

He called on all the contractors handling the projects to ensure that they adhered to the environmental and safety standards and deliver within the specified timeframe.

In his remarks, Mr Jonathan Malann, the Plateau Project Coordinator, Sustainable Urban, Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene programme (SURWASH), also advised contractors to adhere to the environmental and safety standards as provided by the World Bank.

The Federal Government had received $700m financing from the World Bank to ensure that all its people have access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services.

The seven participating states are Plateau, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Katsina, and Kaduna.(NAN)

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Environment

Erosion Control Project: Gombe SEC Approves N389m Compensation for Residents

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The Gombe State Executive Council (SEC) has approved payment of N389 million as compensation for residents that would be affected by the gully erosion control project at Federal College of Education (FCE) Technical and its surrounding communities.

The Commissioner for Finance, Gombe State, Malam Mohammed Magaji, stated this at the end of the SEC meeting on Friday in Gombe.

Magaji said the payment, which would commence immediately, would be for individuals and organisations along the gully erosion site.

He said almost 1000 persons were expected to benefit from the gesture.

According to him, the compensation is part of the requirements of the World Bank, which specifies that such payments be made to property owners.

Magaji said the payment would also be made to ensure seamless resettlement of affected persons.

“The beneficiaries are in hundreds, almost a 1,000 people; there is compensation for houses, and also for business premises.

“There is also stipends for the elderly living around that area so that they are able to have good livelihood,” he said.

The commissioner for Education, Hajiya Aishatu Maigari, also said the SEC approved upgrade of the five mega senior secondary schools in the state to sustain improvement in the education sector.

Maigari said the upgrade would be carried out based on the needs of each of the schools.

She stated that infrastructure in some of the schools were already being upgraded to global standards.

“We have seen construction of toilets, installation of solar-powered light, construction of roads, school clinics, boreholes and many more,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government had on Nov. 23 signed a N12 billion contract with Triacta Nigeria Ltd. for a 21-kilometre gully erosion control work in six communities within Gombe metropolis.

The project is under ACRESAL project, a World Bank-assisted project to address the challenges of land degradation and climate change in northern Nigeria. (NAN)

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