Over 900,000 residents of Borno, Yobe provided with safe drinking water — UNICEF

By Rauf Oyewole, Gombe

The WASH Specialist, The UNICEF WASH Specialist in Nigeria, Jonathan Ekhator, has disclosed that over 997,000 residents of two selected local councils in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have been provided with safe drinking water.

He also said that 880,000 people stopped defecating in the open and are now using safe and hygienic toilet facility in the two councils.

These are part of the successes of the UNICEF water program with the support of the Netherlands Government and in partnerships with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Ekhator made these revelations on Thursday in Gombe at the close of the project.

UNICEF, through the Netherland Directorate-General for International Cooperation-Accelerated Sanitation and Water for All Programme II (DGIS-ASWA II) in 2019 had engaged in provision of water, sanitation and hygiene projects to reduce the negative effects of lack of water.

The acute scarcity of water resulted in avoidable sickness for many rural dwellers while many people lost their lives to water borne diseases due to lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in 2022 said that 117,000 children die in Nigeria each year due to water-related illnesses – the highest number for any nation states.

According to a World Bank’s report in 2021, over 60 million Nigerians lack access to basic drinking water and 80 million people without improved sanitation facilities while 167 million couldn’t access basic hand washing facilities.

According to Ekhator, “A total of 500 new water facilities were constructed and 1,000 broken-down facilities were rehabilitated, while 54 schools and 38 healthcare facilities were provided with basic water, sanitation and hygiene.”

Also speaking on behalf of the communities, Emir of Jajere, Alh. Hamza Buba, applauded UNICEF for its huge contributions in WASH and other sectors.

He said, “We are aware that this problem of water scarcity is there and it is affecting our people. “

“We have many other communities who are experiencing water crisis. We hereby plead with UNICEF and other partners to help us extend this project to other areas. This will definitely help us. I congratulate UNICEF and other participants on this laughable achievement,” he said.

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