Dr. Abubakar Suleiman
Dr. Abubakar Suleiman

Port Harcourt – Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, the Minister of National Planning and Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission (NPC), has said the challenge facing the water and sanitation sector was related to governance.
The minister, represented by Mr. Bassey Akpanyung, the Secretary of the NPC, disclosed this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State at a forum of the European Union- assisted Niger Delta Support Project (NDSP) for water and sanitation.
Suleiman said the challenge was defining roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, building their skills as well as providing and equipping them with necessary financial and material resources to maintain water and sanitation facilities.
He commended Rivers and Ekiti states for successfully completing the process of developing their own water policy.
“Available report shows that a huge percent of Nigerians still lack access to basic sanitation facilities and access to improved sources of self-drinking water,’’ he said.
Suleiman said the importance of the EU support in this area could be better appreciated because of the fact that water resources management was not at its optimal level.
A delegate of the EU, Mr Albert Achten, said the water and sanitation component of NDSP was part of a wider EU-supported programme in the region.
He said the objective of the NDSP was primarily to mitigate the conflict in the Niger Delta by addressing the main causes of unrest and violence.
Achten listed the causes of unrest and violence as youth unemployment as well as lack of access to basic social and economic services and bad governance.
He said the EU had designed a programme to provide enhanced access to safe, adequate and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services to rural communities in Rivers.
Achten said the states in the Niger Delta would contribute only 30 per cent of the cost while the EU would provide the remaining fund.
“The tasks look daunting but with the support of everyone, we will succeed,” he said.
Mrs. Patricia Hart, the Rivers State Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, gave an assurance that the state government would support the programme.