ABUJA – An Hydrologist, Dr Akuro Gobbo, has urged government at all levels to intensify efforts toward attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on water supply and sanitation.
Gobbo told newsmen in Abuja that collaborative efforts were needed to scale up water supply and sanitation for all Nigerians.
The MDGs on water and sanitation are specifically designed to address the challenges facing people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Gobbo, who is also a lecturer at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, said, “Access to water supply and basic sanitation are the cornerstone of a society that is prosperous.
“Without access to potable water supply and basic sanitation, the development and well-being of the populace will be in jeopardy.”
He said that Nigeria’s MDGs target was to supply 74 percent of the population with safe drinking water and 69 percent of the population with adequate sanitation.
According to him, massive investment is needed to provide access to water supply and basic sanitation and hygiene as it relates to the MDGs targets.
The hydrologist told newsmen that the intervention of Global Sanitation Fund shows the international community’s concern and readiness to assist Nigeria in improving sanitation and hygiene.
He blamed the government for its inability to expand people’s access to potable water considerably on the dearth of laws regulating the water sector.
Gobbo said that the water sector had not been quite appealing to potential investors due to the factor mentioned above.
He said that potential investors were not encouraged to invest in the sector because it was not well-managed due to lack of legal framework.
The expert attributed sustained habit of open defecation to inadequate water supply, saying that a good water supply mechanism would certainly promote good hygiene and proper sanitation.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, had indicated that Nigeria might not attain the MDGs on water in spite of concerted efforts toward total water coverage.
“We are working hard; we may not meet with the MDGs, but we are not doing badly.
“As at 2012, we had 65 per cent coverage, we have not finished all the assessment on the intervention we have in 2013 till date.
“I believe that by the time that is done, we would have gone a bit higher.
“We might get close to the 75 percent target, and water is available to people at a subsidised rate,’’ she said.
According to estimates from UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2013, a staggering 768 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.
“This causes illness and preventable deaths in hundreds of thousands of children each year while most of the people without access are poor and live in rural areas or urban slums,” he said.