James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Ogun State government on Friday declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), just as he flagged-off End of Open Defecation in the State.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun who made the declaration in Abeokuta, said a Steering Committee for the implementation of WASH, would focus on the repositioning of the water and sanitation sector to adequately address urban, suburban, and rural water supply, as well as sanitation needs of residents in line with goal six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Prince Abiodun said the declaration had signaled a high level of political will within the State to provide governance structure and appropriate budgetary provision to deliver on sustainable, equitable, and reliable drinking water, as well as improve sanitation services to the people.
“It is, therefore, my considered plan of action as the Governor of this State, giving several challenges the water sector pose to our dear State and strong commitment in addressing lingering issues in the water sector. I hereby declare a ‘State of Emergency’ in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and the official flag-off of Ending Open Defecation in Ogun State.
“We now subscribe to the implementation of the National WASH Action Plan, in order to reverse the regressing trend through ensuring access to safe drinking water and ending of open defecation”, the Governor stated.
He said the State had commenced a developmental agenda and strategy to ensure efficiencies of operation committing to the rehabilitation of infrastructures, infuse professionals in the sector, modernize value chain operations, set key performance indicators (KPIs), and create an enabling legal and regulatory framework for Public-Private Partnership to thrive.
He maintained that his administration would continue to invest through effective Partnerships with development partners including the Federal government, United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), and World Bank to ensure that portable water and sanitation get to the doorsteps of every household in the State.
Abiodun noted that the Nigeria WASH Poverty Diagnostic report of 2007, indicated that 61 percent of Nigerians have access to improved water with only 31 percent having improved water in their premises, saying that this led to the declaration of State of Emergency by the Federal government.
The State helmsman who described safe drinking water, good hygiene, and sanitation is crucial to the health and economic wellbeing of the people, observed that access to these basic needs was still a challenge to residents in towns and rural areas, adding that their absence had led to preventable diseases, which claim lives, especially children under five years.