Osinbajo Tasks Nigerians On Water Sanitation And Hygiene

Osinbajo Tasks Nigerians On Water Sanitation And Hygiene The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has tasked all key players in the water sector to join forces to ensure success in the achievement of the country’s water sanitation targets.

Unveiling the country’s policy documents on water sanitation and irrigation in Abuja, Professor Osinbajo said that improving water sanitation and hygiene in all parts of the country would improve the living conditions of the people.

“Despite the fact that we all seem to agree that water is life and critical to human existence, it is amazing how lightly we take issues of water management.

“Excess water or insufficient water not properly managed is devastating to both man and environment,” he said.

Professor Osinbajo said that although the country has achieved 69% success on water supply and 29% on sanitation, 66 million Nigerians without access to safe water and 110 million without adequate sanitation resulting to high rate of child mortality is a trend Nigeria must change.

“It is also a well-known fact that Nigeria did not achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals – MDGs for water and sanitation.

“Some of the reasons adduced for this include primarily, the lack of effective coordination among stakeholders and the inability to harness the required funds.

“There are about 66 million Nigerians without access to safe water and 110 million without adequate sanitation. Consequently, about 150,000 children under the age of 5 die annually from diarrhea-related diseases that are mostly traceable to unsafe drinking water.

“The situation is even more depressing in the rural areas where polluted ponds and streams remain the only source of water for drinking and other household chores.

“This trend must change,” he said.

SURE-P Trains 639 Midwives to Curb Maternal Deaths

the Project Director of SURE-P Maternal and Child Heath Care, Dr Ugo Okoli,As part of effort to reduce maternal mortality and child mortality in the country, the Federal Government through the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) has trained a total of 639 midwives to be deployed to primary health centers in rural communities in the north east and north west zones of the country.

Speaking to journalists at  the opening ceremony of a five-day workshop for midwives nationwide on Monday in Kaduna state, North West Nigeria, the Project Director of SURE-P Maternal and Child Heath Care, Dr Ugo Okoli, said the essence of the workshop was  to re-orientate the newly graduated midwives from all the nursing schools across the country in order to  engage them in the  SURE-P Maternal and Child Health programme, with particular emphasis to address healthcare challenges  at the  rural areas where most of them don’t have access to qualitative healthcare.

She stated further that the SURE-P Maternal Programme was also equipping all primary health centers across the country with modern medical facilities for the benefit of the rural dwellers.

The SURE-P Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Project was necessitated by the fact that Nigeria  accounts for 10% of the world’s maternal deaths and under-5 mortality rates.

Sadly, an  official report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2008, put Nigeria’s Maternal mortality ratio at 545/100,000 live births with the highest maternal mortality ratios of 1549 in the North East and the lowest 165 found in the South West.

The programme aims at reducing the deaths of pregnant women and newborn babies and aims to accelerate Nigeria’s  track towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5.


Kano Empowers 784 Youths In Agriculture

The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso

The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has restated the commitment of his administration to using the farmers and agriculture agents as tools of promoting food security as well as employment creation.

He made the assurances at the empowerment and inauguration of the Young Farmers Club, bee keepers and agriculture extension agents at the Kano State Government House, Kano on Thursday.

The government has taken steps to get young farmers involved in the future of farming  through its inauguration of Young Famers Club in secondary schools in the state and the graduation ceremony for 300 youths who have been trained by the state in the business of Bee Keeping.

The innovation was initiated to create employment and to also develop the agricultural sector in the state, with a honey processing plant being installed to compliment the training.

The Managing Director of the Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA), Suleiman Sani, spoke about the state’s achievements in boosting the capacity of farmers. While admitting that the provision of fertilizers is good for farmers, he revealed that the provision of improved seeds, technology, teaching farmers how to use local manure, are other forms of support that the state has identified, and this has helped double the productivity of farmers in the state.

Some principals of the schools gave reports of the progresses they have made. One of the principals, Kabiru Sani, said that the assistance from the Government had made verifiable impacts on the schools, citing his school as having a garden that boasts of about 9 crops.

He charged fellow principals to embrace the young farmers programme, as it is a way to build a new generation of committed farmers. He explained that having started from school, it would be easier for the young ones to continue in agriculture.

The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, in his speech, highlighted the role of agriculture in the development of Nigeria, noting that agriculture had been Nigeria’s mainstay in the 1960s before oil was discovered.

Therefore his administration was committed to programmes that would develop the agricultural sector in the state, as well as create employment and promote food security, with empowering the youths in the process, as a priority.

He reeled out other initiatives that his administration has embarked on towards the empowerment of youths in the state, which has led to the increase in school attendance in the state from 1.2 million in 2011 to 2.4 million in 2013.

Governor Kwankwaso also noted that his administration has been building laboratories, libraries, computer rooms and other modern facilities to enhance the quality of education in its secondary schools.

He then called on the farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in the state who have benefited from the state’s loans and subsidies to fulfil their repayment process in order to help the sustenance of the scheme.

He added that it was gratifying to see the calibre of people present at the event to encourage youths towards embracing agriculture as career and business.

Certificates were presented to the trainees in the bee keeping and other agricultural empowerment programmes. The beneficiaries also received tools for their trade, worth a total of 32,600 Naira per person.

Lawmakers Commend Ondo State On MDGs Progress

The House of Representatives Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has commended the efforts of the Ondo State government in the intervention programmes of MDGs, especially in the areas of Health, Urban Renewal and Basic Education.

In a meeting held in Akure, the state’s capital, with the governor of the State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the chairman of the committee, Honourable AlHassan Ado Doguwa, stressed that members of his Committee were impressed by state of the art Mother and Child Hospitals in Akure and Ondo; the Modern Neighbourhood Markets and the Mega Primary Schools.

Governor Mimiko emphasised the need for Nigeria to address the injustice fostered on developing countries by the international financial architecture occasioned by globalisation and liberalisation.

“For rapid development to take place in developing countries, the issue of employment generation must be tackled,” governor Mimiko stressed.

Oyo Orders 20,000 YES-O Cadets To Re-Apply

The Oyo state government has ordered all the 20,000 cadets of the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O) to re-apply for the scheme.

In a statement issued by the Chairman of Oyo State Agency for Youth Development, Mr. Gbenga Olayemi in Ibadan yesterday, the directive for the cadets to re-apply was borne out of the need for the state government to re-invigorate the scheme for optimum performance.

It would be recalled that the YES-O scheme was inaugurated by the state governor on December 1st, 2011, with a total of 20,000 youths offered employment.

Although the scheme was aimed at serving as a stop-gap for most of the unemployed youths, a number of them have since been given permanent employment by the state government in various ministries, and agencies.

Some of them have also been made to undergo a three-month specialized training in different vocations such as Auto-tronics, tie and dye, tiling and interlocking, food processing and graphic arts with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF),while others have been trained in Agro-allied business by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Governor Ajimobi had, however, at various times, expressed displeasure at the conduct of some YES-O cadets, saying that his office had been inundated with the report of harassment and extortion of members of the public by the cadets.

He also said that he was aware of the clandestine acts by the opposition in infiltrating the scheme with a view to making use of some officials in dealing with innocent members of the public so as to discredit the scheme.

Olayemi directed all the cadets, who are to be demobilized immediately, to re-apply from their respective ward/local government, adding that criteria for fresh recruitment would include educational qualifications and physical fitness, among others.

MDGs: Imoke Says State On Course To Meet 2015 Target

The Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke, has said that the state under his leadership is on due course to meet the 2015 target, set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDG’s.

The MDG’s are eight international development goals that were established for the millennium summit of the United Nations in 2000, following  the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

All 189 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations committed to help achieve these goals by the year 2015.

Speaking on the progress of the plan, Imoke expressed hope that his administration will deliver on the set target 2015, towards meeting the goals as meaningful progress in various sectors that  has been recorded in the state.

Governor Imoke made this known while fielding questions from journalists in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, on the achievement of the MDG interventions.

Areas of key interest according to the governor have been in the health, education, and rural development interventions which have contributed significantly to the betterment of  lives of the rural populace across the state.

The governor maintained that, through the interventions made available for the MDGs, over 60 health facilities have been built and are well equipped at the primary health level, renovation of existing health centers have been made possible, as well as employment and training of staff to deliver effectively in the sector and landmarks.



Group Calls On FG To Speed Up Efforts Toward Achieving MDG’s

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify its efforts in achieving the millennium development goals to eradicate poverty and improve the standard of living in the country.

The special adviser to the president on NEPAD, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju made the demands of the group known while speaking at a meeting organised for state coordinators in Lokoja. He highlighted agriculture and food security, energy infrastructure, human capacity in health and education as ‘critical sectorial priorities’.

While delivering his speech at the programme, themed ‘NEPAD As Tool For Good Governance,’ Mr Olagunju said that the event was aimed at revealing the fact that the absence of good governance has become the most critical missing link in the quest for sustainable development.

He pointed out that a recent study revealed that the Africa region has not benefited from global decrease in the proportion of people living in poverty and hunger in spite of its natural endowment.

The Kogi state governor, Idris Wada, while addressing the gathering, disclosed that his administration has identified the inescapable need to work with the various component of private sector and civil society in order to develop, implement and promote strategies that will enable the state realise the four priority of transformation agenda as to add value to lives of people of the state and ensure good governance.

Mr Olagunju expressed his optimism, that if the projects and programmes under the sectors are conscientiously implemented, they will bring about transformative shift of that wish, will have positive impact on the living condition of the people.


FG Vows To Meet All MDGs

With less than 1,000 days to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and maternal mortality rate figure at 350 per 100,000 live births, the Federal Government has restated its promise to achieve all the goals in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health; Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, claimed that Nigeria has succeeded in achieving goals four, five and six which relates to health.

The goals are promoting gender equality and empowering women, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases respectively.

Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs; Dr Precious Gbeneol expressed confidence that remarkable progress has been made and that government is making efforts to hit the milestone.

According to Dr Gbeneol, top on the list of achievements for Nigeria is the net attendance levels for basic education which she says, has increased over time.

She further claims that the Federal Government is working hard to ensure that it hits the 100 per cent mark by 2015.

The MDGs boss also said Nigeria has recorded progress in its bid to reduce maternal mortality with the country’s maternal mortality rate figure now at 350 down from 1000 per 100,000 live births in 1990 and 545 in 2008.

She however agrees that Nigeria is still 28.6 per cent away from the 2015 target.

The Minister of Health lists the decline in HIV prevalence rate from as high as 5.8 to 4.1 in 2012 and the increase in the proportion of under-5 children sleeping under insecticide treated nets from 2.2 per cent in 2003 to 34.6 per cent in 2012 as confirmed by MDGs survey of 2012.

In the area of poverty eradication the Federal Government says it has appropriated the sum of N10 billion to assist poor households across the country.

But the sentiments claimed by the government officials on the nation’s progress in achieving the goals is not shared by all, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that Nigeria can meet the targets with a strict adherence to the mechanisms that have been put in place for successful implementation.

Experts advocate the need for Nigeria to look beyond the targeted date of 2015 by consolidating on the gains of the MDGs and evolve new developmental initiatives for the welfare of Nigerians.

The year 2015 is the deadline for the realization of the MDGs set by the United Nations in the year 2000 with about 189 countries including Nigeria being signatories to achieving the goals which are geared towards reducing extreme poverty among other priorities.

Jonathan Says FG Needs N350 Billion Annually For Water Provision

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said Nigeria will need to invest about N350 billion annually to meet her water and sanitation targets.

The President who spoke at the opening of the two-day Presidential Summit on water, with the theme “Innovative Funding of the Water Sector” held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the situation whereby rural and sub-urban areas do not have access to clean water, is unacceptable.

He said in line with his administration’s transformation agenda, it had become necessary to implement a more cooperative, more radical programme of action to meet the nation’s Millennium Development Goals MDGs) target in this sector.

The President said for the nation to meet her MDGs, the federal and states must work together, insisting that a situation where a lot of money was spent to provide water but management becomes an issue, should no longer be tolerated.

He said, “Investments were made to boost various aspects of the sector, from the line budget and special funds dedicated to ecological matters and natural resources development and also through the repair and rehabilitation of water supply infrastructure. In 2011, we spent the total sum of N40.94billion. In 2012, the sum of N43.6 billion was spent. This does not include our expenditure in the following projects; Goronyo Dam – N3.4 billion; Kashimbila Dam – N38 billion; Gurara Dam & irrigation – N3 6billion; Ife Dam – N3 billion.

“In 2013, we have proposed N39 billion from line budget to be spent on water related projects. This will be in addition to funds the sector will receive from special intervention funds.”
The President expressed the hope that at the end of summit, they will consider how best to leverage resources with those of development partners and the international community to strengthen the effort towards meeting the set targets in 2015.

He said, “In more concrete and specific terms, this Summit should: Identity the major issues militating against optimal water infrastructure development and its sustainability, as well as evolve innovative funding to ameliorate this situation;

“Redefine the intervention approaches in the water sector through funding sources diversification and highlight the business potential and existing profitability assets;

“Facilitate linkages and engagements between investors and innovators towards expansion and scaling up of innovation on water services in the country; and

“Critically review the present financing and investment models in the sector; determine which model works and the opportunities that exist for leveraging resources from non-traditional sources in the light of growing competing needs.

“It is increasingly recognized that small and medium water service providers, such as “mai ruwa” and “pure water” play a vital role in the provision of water services in both our rural and urban areas.

“Strategies to strengthen their service delivery, including environmentally safe measures, technological value additions, and access to finance and concessionary credit facilities should be evaluated.

“I assure you that the government will favourably consider all the practical recommendations, which will emerge from the Summit. We are conscious of the importance of this meeting and the contributions it will make in support of our efforts to realize our objectives in the Water Sector for the benefit of our citizens.

“We are set on the right course to achieve and move beyond the MDG targets for water and sanitation. This is the dawn of reform and growth in the Water Sector in Nigeria. All hands must therefore, be on deck. To this, I am fully committed.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said the subject of water and speedy action was long overdue.

He said it was ironical that there was scarcity of water in the midst of plenty. “That is why we have to think out of the box to provide water sustainable for human needs.

“Innovation may mean we need to do what we use to do differently, seeking new ways, more hands have to be on deck to achieve the purpose we need to do. We need to realise that business as usual will not get us there.

“Is water a political, economic or social issue? Is when we are clear on what it is then we will move closer to addressing the issue of water.

“Water is too serious to be left in the hands of politicians, private sector, donor agencies, and civil society alone. We have to leave it in the hands of all to ensure adequate and sustainable water supply.”

John Kuffour, former President of Ghana and Chairman of Sanitation and Water for All, regretted that many people were denied access to water due to prohibited high cost.

He said traditional sources of funding (donor agencies) leave much to be desired; hence the summit’s theme couldn’t have been more apt.

Senate President, David Mark supported the notion that if a state fails to provide water for citizens, it should be taken to court.

“The responsibility of provision of water is that of state and Local Government Area and so the people should be empowered to sue those that fail to deliver on that,” he said.

Mr Mark added, “As the nation’s population grows so will be demand for water and so is expected this summit will provide lasting solution.
“It is embarrassing that we still lack portable and clean water. Water is a necessity and must be readily available and accessible.

“We need to source for funds from none traditional sources in the face of competing demands.

“Some of the investments have been wasteful because of duplication of water projects.”

The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, speaking on behalf the Governors’ Forum, said the sector needed institutional reforms to ensure implementation will not meet brick wall.

He said the delivery of portable water to the people was crucial and the activities of donor agencies, the private sector and the government on provision of water need to be harmonised.

He called for a legislation to empower the people to sue government that fails to provide water and other essential amenities to court.
In her welcome remarks, the Minister of Water Resources, Stella Ochekpe, said she was excited that global stakeholders and political leaders turned up for the event.

She said the summit was the President’s initiative and demonstrates his commitment in the transformation agenda of the water sector, adding that they were confident and convinced that the water sector will experience a greater turn around after summit.

“We pledged to use the outcomes of the summit as stepping stones that will not only facilitate the attainment of the MDGs, but will prepare us for greater impact in the implementation of post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, in which water is expected to be a stand-alone goal,” she said.

Mrs Ochekpe said the implementation of the roadmap in the sector had brought to the fore the huge funding gap in the sector and annual appropriations alone by the three tiers of government will not be sufficient to develop the sector in line with global trends.

She added that this had underscored the need to explore alternative sources of funding for the optimal development of the sector.

Jonathan Vows To Empower More Women

President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged that his Administration will not rest on its oars over the economic and political empowerment of Nigerian women, but will do more before the expiration of its tenure to give women even greater access to elective offices and opportunities for wealth creation.

Speaking after being commended by the United Nations Under-Secretary and Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet for appointing women to very important positions in the Federal Government, President Jonathan said that he was determined to take women empowerment a step further by working to ensure that more women contest and win future elections in the country.

President Jonathan also assured Ms Bachelet who was the first female President of Chile that the Federal Government remains fully committed to taking Nigeria as far as is possible towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

Reaffirming his personal commitment to the accelerated reduction of maternal and infant mortality, the president said that he has directed that a comprehensive status report on Nigeria’s current standing on the achievement of the MDGs be produced with a view to identifying urgent actions that need to be taken to move the country rapidly towards their attainment.

Ms Bachelet, who was accompanied to the Presidential Villa by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Joy Ogwu, recommended and endorsed the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund by Nigeria, saying that from her personal experience as President of her country, she had learnt that savings and investments made under such funds were very important for countries which rely on extractive industries.

She praised President Jonathan for having already done a lot to fulfil his campaign promises on the empowerment of Nigerian women, including the appointment of the first female Chief Justice of the Federation and female ministers for very important ministries such as Finance, Petroleum, Communications Technology, Education, Water Resources, Housing, Environment, Power and Defence.

The United Nations Women Executive Director thanked Nigeria for being one of the strongest political and financial supporters of her agency in Africa.

She also applauded President Jonathan’s efforts as co-Chair of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, and called for Nigeria’s support for the UN’s new initiative for the prevention of violence against women.