Only 15.7% of schools have basic water supply, sanitation services— Expert

Acting Programme Manager, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) Mr Eyo Offiong, has said that only 15.7 per cent of schools in Nigeria has basic water and sanitation services.

Offiong was speaking at a Two-Day Media Dialogue on ” Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilets” in Calabar on Wednesday.

He said that the percentage signified low Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in the educational sector.

He called for an increase in the number of WASH facilities across the educational sector in the country.

According to him, there was need for adequate water and sanitation facilities in schools to aid teaching outcomes.

” The 15.7 per cent of schools in Nigeria with basic facilities is a national outlook, it is a national average.

” It is for government to ensure the political will and commitment to provide water in schools as well as basic sanitation facilities to expand beyond the communities or local government where the donor partners are involved in.

” It is for government to commit funds into ensuring that this happens. The good thing about the statistics is that it brings clearly what needs to be done and how it can be done.

” So far, in Cross River state, the government has also declared emergency in the wash sector last year.

“The government has gone further to drill over 200 solar powered bore hole in the past six months and the process of completion is ongoing.”

Offiong added that the Governor Ben Ayade had also committed to providing 3 million dollars annually for the next five years to make the state an Open Defecation Free state.

” Going by the statements of the governor, the state is ready and willing to move ahead to ensure we become open defecation free state and also to drive the state in education and health.”

The acting manager also noted that to drive the initiative, six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the states had been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) which is the highest in the country.

He highlighted the LGAs declared ODF as Obanliku, Bekwara, Yala, Ikom, Boki and Yakurr.

He added that the state had provided 20,367 new household laterines under the Water Supply and Sanitation collaboration Council Programme ( WSSSRP) while 4,088 volunteer hygiene promotrs were trained on hygiene practices.

Meanwhile, Mr Bioye Ogunjobi, WASH Specialist, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), disclosed that Nigeria now have 13 Local Government certified Open defecation areas(ODF).

He added that Jigawa and Bauchi state had over 3,000 communities certified ODF.

Also, Mrs Yemisi Akpa Chief Scientific Officer, Federal Ministry of Water Resources said the achievement of the 13 ODF Local Government Areas in the country was not enough as more needed to be done to ensure good hygiene practice by 2025.

Akpa noted that to achieve ODF by 2025, there was also the need to provide an average of 100 household laterines annually in all the 774 LGAs

She urged Nigeria government to constitute technical working group to operationalise the National Roadmap towards ODF.

She, therefore, called on Cross River government to be more committed through funding to deliver the remaining 12 LGAs yet to be declared ODF.

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