By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
A sum of N2.5 billion has so far being spent under the DFID/UNICEF supported Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project between 2017 to date in the construction and rehabilitation of WASH facilities across 12 LGAs of Bauchi state.
The construction/rehabilitation are being under taken in Warji, Gamawa, Dass, Bauchi, Katagum, Ningi, Shira, Toro, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Zaki, and Alkaleri rural communities, schools and primary healthcare centres.
Bauchi commissioner for Water Resources, Barrister Jidauna Tula Mbami said the state government is collaborating with Development Partners, particularly DFID and UNICEF under the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project to provide safe water and accelerate access to effective and improved sanitation and hygiene in the 12 selected LGAs.
Barrister Jidauna Mbami while briefing the press as part of the activities marking the 2020 World Water Day (WWD) in Bauchi, further disclosed that the state government has released the sum of N20 million as Sanitation Pool Fund to be managed by micro finance institutions as a revolving fund to increase the construction of improved households’ latrines.
“These efforts and the monthly release of government counterpart cash contribution have spurred DFID to increase funding for the SHAWN project over the years in Bauchi state. These interventions have resulted in the provision of safe drinking water to a total of 2, 150, 898 people in rural communities across the 12 project LGAs.
Mbami also disclosed that plans are underway for the construction and rehabilitation of several water supply schemes in semi-urban communities under the African Development Bank supported with about 2.3 million additional people expected to gain access to safe water in urban and semi-urban areas of the state.
He noted that water and sanitation related diseases are on the leading causes of death in children under 5 years old, as everyday over 700 children less than 5 die from diarrhea linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.
Mbami explained that the Governor Bala led administration is fully committed to providing safe drinking water to urban dwellers in the state, as demonstrated by the government’s commitment to the ongoing improvement and refurbishing of decaying water infrastructures in Bauchi metropolis and other zonal townships under the World Bank supported intervention.
The commissioner said however that with the emergence of diseases like Coronavirus which calls for regular hand washing with soap to safeguard against contracting the disease, the importance of water cannot be over-emphasized.
“As industrialization and demographic shifts increase consumption needs, demand for water will continue to rise while supply diminishes. The World needs to get water, and everyone has a role to play. And we cannot afford to wait as millions, especially children are at risk”.
He gave experts submission that by 2040 almost 1 in 4 children will live in areas of extremely high-water stress, with around 500 million children now live in areas at extremely high risk of floods due to extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes and storms, as well as rising sea levels.
Barr. Jidauna Mbami assured that the Bauchi state government is awake to its responsibilities, as it is committed to the welfare of citizens and considers strengthening partnership and collaboration with External Support Agencies, donors and other development partners such as UNICEF, DFID, WaterAid, World Bank and African Development Bank Groups, among others, as key priority for accelerating and sustaining access to safe drinking water to the state teeming population.