Nigeria, after 57 years of nationhood, its citizens are in tortuous journeying of accessing improved drinking water. Frightening it is that 90 percent households in Nigeria drink faeces infected water and other impure substances such as Ecoli. This is according to Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS, carried out in 2017, by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in collaboration with UNICEF.
Maureen Zubie-Okolo, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with UNICEF, said the water and sanitation situation in the country was disturbing. About 64.1 percent Nigerians can access improved drinking water sources, but that is not the case with North-East States. The region is behind with 52.4 percent. South-West States lead the chart with 87.3 percent of residents having access to improved water sources.
According to the report, “about two out of every three households use improved water sources, while a little more than one-third use improved sanitation compared to 58.5 percent and 31 per cent respectively in 2011”. Zubie-Okolo sees the need for more advocacy for all tiers of government in the country to implement policies and programmes aimed at increasing access to improved water sources and sanitation.
Water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea, lead the causes of hospital admissions in the country, especially among children under five years. UNICEF said access to basic drinking water and sanitation would promote good health of citizens and reduce preventable diseases and deaths.
Elizabeth Ugoh, Deputy Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, in Nigeria’s Ministry of Water Resources, according to NAN, revealed that the ministry was working with Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, to enforce national standard for drinking quality water.
Ugoh said “the ministry is calling on all Nigerians drinking water from borehole and other sources to regularly test their water in laboratories across the country to reduce consuming unwholesome water. We are also calling on borehole drillers to abide by the National Drilling Code of Practice.”
Six new laboratories are being constructed in Nigeria’s six geo-political zones by government to improve water quality and standard in the country. Ugoh said the six existing laboratories were inadequate due to the country’s large population.