A new report by the World Bank’s Water Global Practice titled, “A Wake Up Call: Nigeria Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Poverty Diagnostic” presents the dire situation in water, sanitation and hygiene services in the country in stark focus.
Why this matters: It is crucial for Nigerian leaders and policy makers to pay attention to the troubling details in the report and take appropriate steps to reverse the trend. There is enough evidence that suggests that limited or no access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services adversely affect individuals’ health, hinders their access to educational and economic opportunities, and affects their work efficiency and labor productivity.
Talk, but act too: The federal government is talking a good talk. At the just concluded National Retreat on Revitalizing Urban Water Supply and Sanitation, the minister of water resources, Suleiman Adamu called for a review of the National Water Supply and Sanitation policy of 2000 which he said has not yielded results in 17 years. He also said a draft water resources bill is being considered at the national assembly. VP Yemi Osinbajo said the recommendations from the retreat will be taken seriously. Hopefully, some action would follow all the talk.
Below are ten key data points from the report:
- Only 29 percent of Nigerians have access to improved and unshared sanitation facilities. Only 5.6% of Nigerians make use of sewerage systems. A whopping 23 million to 46 million Nigerians practice open defecation.
- 130 million Nigerians do not meet the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) standards for sanitation
- 61 percent of Nigerians have access to improved water, but only 31 percent have access to improved water on premises
- Access to piped water on premises in urban areas declined from 32 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2015
- Poor households are deeply affected by inadequate access to WASH. 71 percent of households in the lowest wealth quintile lack access to improved water
- Poor children are about four times more likely to get diarrheal disease than rich children due to poor access to WASH
- Public expenditure in water and sanitation is limited and of poor quality. Nigeria needs to invest at least three times more than what it does today to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in WASH
- 15 percent of completed works on public water infrastructure are considered of unsatisfactory quality
- Nearly 30 percent of water points and water schemes fail within their first year of operation. Water agencies are performing poorly. Across most water-utility indicators, Nigeria underperformed in comparison to African and global averages
Nigeria needs to spend more efficiently. 44 percent of borehole construction projects committed were never started. This ratio is even higher for canal and dam projects— 70 percent and 79 percent, respectively. Moreover, only 37 percent of borehole projects, 10 percent of dam projects, and 5 percent of canal projects were fully completed.