World News

Over 3,000 cholera-induced deaths avoidable, says WaterAid.

FG, Qatar, UNICEF to undertake N12b water projects in Jigawa

WaterAid Nigeria has said that over 3,000 deaths recorded from the 2021 outbreak of cholera in the country could have been avoided, had the nation prioritised Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

A statement, yesterday, by the Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, reads: “WaterAid is deeply concerned about the cholera outbreak that affected communities in several states in Nigeria, claiming over 3,000 lives so far – especially affecting young children between five and 14 years old.”

She said the number might be higher, as people in hard-to-reach areas had been affected as well.

The organisation fears that the global climate crisis, which is likely to lead to more erratic rains and river floods, will increase the number and severity of the outbreak, as there may be more floods contaminating clean water sources.

“This recent outbreak has been the most lethal in several years, considering the number of cases and deaths recorded so far.”

HOWEVER, the Federal Government, in collaboration with the government of Qatar and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is expected to execute special integrated water projects worth N12 billion in Jigawa State, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Ibrahim Giwa, has disclosed.

Addressing newsmen at Manpower Development Institute, Dutse, during the Biweekly Media Engagement Forum organised by the Jigawa Correspondents’ Chapel, the commissioner said the initiative was aimed at integrating all existing water projects to achieve universal access to water in Jigawa.

UNICEF is expected to provide most of the needed working tools, while the Federal Government provides technical and other logistics support to facilitate the smooth take-up of the gigantic projects.

Earlier, Giwa had stated that Governor Mohammed Abubakar administration completed almost all the inherited water projects in the state, stressing the administration’s resolve to attain the level of access to water to every nook and cranny of the state.

On the activities of his ministry, the commissioner said in the last six years, in collaboration with the Federal Government and the World Bank, it was able to inject over N22 billion in people-oriented projects, out of which N1.4 billion was used to dredge the 11-kilometre Sintulmawa water to Dutse under Dutse Regional Water Scheme Project.

But Giwa lamented the vandalism of water facilities by disgruntled elements, warning that government will not condone such acts of sabotage, as stringent penalty awaits anyone caught in the act.

He implored water user’s to promptly pay their water bills for improved service delivery. “The state government commits much money in the procurement of diesel, among others, to ensure that water is provided,” he added.