The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that 57 million Nigerians do not have access to safe water supply and that 15 million people in the country still drink water from rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and irrigation canals.
This was disclosed by UNICEF specialist on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Mr Moustapha Niang at European Union-UNICEF WASH media dialogue in Uyo in Akwa-Ibom state.
Moustapha said 45,000 children under the age of five die annually from diseases caused by poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
He expressed worry over prevalence of open defecation in Nigeria to the extent that 46 million people in the country still practice Open Defecation.
He added that out of the 46 million Nigerians that practice Open Defecation, 33 million live in rural areas and that 130 million Nigerians are using unimproved sanitation facilities in which more than half of those affected are rural dwellers.
Moustapha noted that in the North-East, only 23 percent and 9 percent of Internally Displaced People (IDP) have access to water and sanitation respectively and that 75percent of WASH infrastructure destroyed in affected Local Government Areas.
He warned that Nigeria is unlikely to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-6) targets unless necessary steps are taking to address issues of water, sanitation and hygiene and called on government and all stakeholders to do the needful to rescue the situation.