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Road-map to achieve drinking water – by Odimegwu Onwumere

Road-map to achieve drinking water

“Achieving the water global goal would have multiple benefits, including laying the foundations for food and energy security, sustainable urbanisation, and ultimately, climate security.” – UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said on January 21 2016.

Then President Goodluck Jonathan was worried in 2011 that many Nigerians had no access to drinking water.

Jonathan was apprehensive that in accord with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), 75 percent of Nigerians were supposed to have access to safe drinking water by 2015.

Madam Sarah Ochekpe, then minister of water resources, buttressed that Nigeria was on track to attain the 75 percent target.

The MDG office figuring representation, said, $2.5 billion (about N375 billion) was needed to meet the country’s water and sanitation targets between 2011 and 2015.

Government noted that an additional N200 billion was vital to provide bonus development in Dams with hydropower elements amongst others.

Water and sanitation quandaries were among the chief problems that were besetting Nigeria.

The United Nations said that over 340,000 workers died every year because of inadequate water supply and sanitation; 1.5 billion people were employed in water-related sectors.

The international body added that, that was due to quantity and the quality of water direct impact on workers’ lives and health.

The body believed that the livelihoods of many workers such as fishermen depend on the quality of the freshwater.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for water and sanitation opined that it was going to take Nigeria 28 years for this target for drinking and freshwater to be met.

The opinion was hinged on lackadaisical experiences gotten in the leadership of the country as had been exhibited in the past. 

The JMP reports showed that an increase of about 11 percent in access to improved water supply in Nigeria was experienced between 1990 and 2010 and less than 58 percent of population had access to potable water.

The UN JMP was nervous that the country could only attain its set goal of 75 percent coverage by 2015, increasing by 17 percentage points within the next three years (which elapsed in 2015).

Road-map to achieve drinking water


Upset by the prediction made by the UN, the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria in January 2011 launched a water road-map that described the country’s readiness for water resources between 2011 and 2025.

“The plan includes the promises that 75 percent of Nigerians will have access to potable water by 2015, and 90 percent by 2020. They include drilling one motorized borehole in each of the 109 Senatorial Districts, rehabilitating 1,000 dysfunctional hand pump boreholes in 18 states, supplying and installing 10 special water treatment plants, and completing all abandoned urban/semi-urban water supply projects,” according to the water road-map.

Juanita During, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Partnership at the African Centre for Water and Sanitation, described the government’s funding approach as “unpredictable and poorly targeted” following the launch of the roadmap.

The acting country representative for WaterAid during the time, Timeyin Uwejamomere said that the country had a shortfall and that shortfall was giving the country the feeling that it would take another 28 years to make that shortfall and it had only three years to go.

Uwejamomere, however, opened up to say that the country had some issues of “legislation, structure, finance, planning and attitudes” but being issues that the country could control.

There were abandoned water projects in the past of which was captured in the words of  Ochekpe, saying, the Ministry of Water Resources was focusing on completion of abandoned water projects and repairs of basic infrastructure such as hand pumps and motorized boreholes.

At a point, the World Bank task team leader for community-based and urban development in Nigeria, Hassan Kida was telling the water resource ministry that Nigeria had “a long way to go” to reach her water goals.

“In several meetings we’ve had with the ministry of water resources, I tell them that you still have a lot of work to do in the sense that nobody knows what is happening there in the field. 

“Putting in the infrastructure is not a big deal but managing the infrastructure that is the biggest deal,” Kida said.


A World Bank study accounted that it costs N150 on the ordinary to generate a litre of clean drinking water in Nigeria, yet consumers in some states were billed as little as N25 for 1000 liters of potable water.

It was observed that the government was affording a gigantic subsidy, but consumers were supremely unacquainted.

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