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NEWS: Nigeria pursues dams, private sector funding for water provision

A blog in the Nigerian Compass highlights that, “President Goodluck Jonathan has launched the ‘Road map for Nigeria Water Sector’, targeted to make potable water available for all by 2015, with a directive to the Minister of Water Resources and Minister of State for Power to begin the immediate rehabilitation of all dams in the country. …Jonathan disclosed that plans are at an advanced stage for the construction of large dams that include Mambilla and Gurara Phase II… This is coming as the Federal Government said that it would require about N575 billion annually to meet its water and sanitation targets between 2011 and 2015.”

Nigeria was under military rule between 1966 and 1999. A general election in 2007 was condemned by the international community as being severely flawed. The president in that election died in office and Jonathan was sworn in as his replacement in May 2010. The US State Department says that Nigeria’s human rights record remains poor and government officials at all levels continue to commit serious abuses. The petroleum industry and the dumping of untreated sewage has been cited as serious concerns related to the pollution of waterways and groundwater. Nigeria voted in favour of the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation at the United Nations General Assembly vote on July 28, 2010.

The Nigerian Compass notes that, “The President, who spoke through his deputy, Namadi Sambo, emphasised the importance of the road map, decrying the inability of previous efforts to make potable water accessible to the teeming populace of the country. Jonathan called for a collective effort to address the issue, pointing out that water crisis was more prevalent in the North, where he noted people trekked long distance to fetch water, saying, however, that in no distant future, ‘no Nigerian child should trek long distance to fetch water before going to school.’ While commending the Minister of Water Resources, Chief Obadiah Ando, for coming up with the road map, the President was confident that the country was on course to achieve the goal of water for all.”

“(Jonathan has) canvassed private sector involvement in the implementation of the road map, promising that the Federal Government would make available intervention funds to ensure realisation of his government’s slogan of “water for all, water everywhere. … (And the minister of water resources) stressed the need to set up right regulatory and legal framework for robust private sector participation in meeting the road map and sustaining investment in all aspects of the water industry.”

According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea – largely a result of unsafe water and poor hygiene – is the second largest killer of children in Nigeria, causing as many as 17 percent of the deaths of those under the age of five.

The full blog is at http://www.compassnewspaper.com/NG/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74362:nigeria-and-the-challenges-of-water-provision&catid=42:commune&Itemid=796.