UN agency wants president-elect to address environmental challenges

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– Ms Priscilla Achakpa, National Coordinator, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Nigeria, has called on the President-elect, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, address environmental challenges facing the country.

Achakpa made the call an interview the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on .

NAN reports that WSSCC, a UN agency, is funding the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) Programme in Benue and Cross River States.

Its vision is to create a world where everybody has sustained water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

She said the impact of climate change had dealt a blow to the economic life of the country, especially in the North-Eastern states of the country.

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According to her, desertification and shrinking of the Lake Chad River has also led to displacement and migration of fishes into other parts of the country, posing threat to aquatic and environmental life.

She also stressed the for the incoming administration to put in place polices to address the economic needs of the country, to boost the nation’s economic development.

Achakpa said it was important for the incoming government to appoint credible leaders, who had passion for promoting the wellbeing of Nigerians.

This, she said, was necessary because Nigerians were eager to see positive changes in all sectors of the country.

She said governance should be a bottom to top approach, adding that this would go a long way to have an inclusive society.

The national coordinator said the importance of having sanitation and hygiene put in place at all levels could not be overemphasized, being a human right phenomenon.

She said it was also important for all stakeholders to put in place policies to boost access to water, sanitation and hygiene especially in rural areas.

She said women and children were worst hit due to lack of access to basic water and sanitation, adding that when addressed, the challenge would be reduced to the barest minimum open defection.

The national coordinator said it was sad to note that Nigeria was still lagging behind in achieving improved access to basic sanitation and hygiene.

She called for more to enable more Nigerians to understand the benefit of hygiene and sanitation, saying this was essential to reducing preventable deaths.

Speaking on the need for access to water, Achakpa said it was one of the most abundant commodities of man and occupied about 70 per cent of the earth’s surface.

She said it was saddening to note that a greater percentage of the world’s population lived without access to safe drinking water, especially in the developing countries.

“In many developing countries, availability of water has become a critical problem and it is a matter of great concern to families and communities depending on non-public water supply system,” she said.

She, however, called for speedy policies to address challenges to access to safe water, to boost Nigerians’ wellbeing.

According to the WHO, nearly 90 per cent of diarrhoea-related deaths have been attributed to unsafe or inadequate water supplies and sanitation. (NAN)

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