By Blessing Odega
Jos – Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau says his administration will soon gazette a Water Sector Law to improve peoples’ access to water and sanitation in the state.
Lalong disclosed this at the launching of the “Keep Your Promise Campaign on WASH” on Tuesday in Jos.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Bello, the Governor said that the State Government had paid N500 million as counter part funds for various WASH projects in the state.
He also said that the government was working proactively to end open defecation in the state as “the act is responsible for most waterborne diseases’’.
Earlier, the Country Director of Water Aid Nigeria (WAN), Mrs Chichi Okoye, said that 2.8 million people in the state lacked decent toilets.
Okoye, who was represented by Miss Idowu Adebayo, the European Union Technical Assistant to Civil Societies and Project consultant, attributed the figure to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2018 survey.
The survey shows that in Plateau, only 44.9 per cent of the residents have access to improved water and 34.5 per cent have access to improved sanitation.
She said that based on the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Norm statistics by NBS, the state still has a gap of 2.3 million people who do not have access to potable water and 2.8 million people, lacking decent toilets.
According to her, in 2019, the NBS estimated that within the last six weeks, 19.9 per cent of households in Plateau had suffered diarrheal disease.
The director said that if steps were not taken to address the menace it might become an enormous challenge.
“The launch of the campaign is very imperative to keep elected officeholders accountable, especially on water, sanitation and hygiene issues,’’ she said.
The country said that sustainable governance “isn’t possible without responsive government and institutions that can be held accountable to deliver on roles and responsibilities”.
She said that “Keep Your Promise campaign”, which is the second phase of WAN’s electoral advocacy, seeks to empower citizens and the media in Plateau to use various accountability platforms to engage elected officials to keep their promise of providing improved WASH throughout the state.
She said the launch of the Water Aid campaign was to work toward changing the narrative on water and sanitation services in the state by ensuring increased investment in the WASH sector in order to cater for the needs of Nigerians.