Cross River, Benue, Get N800m Grant For Sanitation

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by crossriverwatch admin

Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources
Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources

Benue and Cross Rivers states have received the sum of US$5million (about N800million) to further promote sanitation in the two states.

The fund was made available by Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, WSSCC, through the Global Sanitation Fund.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, on the grant in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said it would require huge investment to achieve the country’s Millennium Development Goals’ target on sanitation.

She said: “The population of Nigerians with access to basic sanitation and hygiene has been fluctuating from 37% in 1990 to 34% in year 2000; and it has gone up to 41% in 2012 under national assessment.

“This is however far from our set national target on MDG of 65% by 2015 and 75% by 2020. For us to reach the stated
MDG targets, massive investment is needed to provide access to water supply and basic sanitation and hygiene. It is on this note that we welcome the support and participation of our development partners in scaling up access to water and sanitation.”

She mentioned the Local Governments to benefit in Benue State as including: Aguta, Gwer – East, Logo, Ado – Bukuru and Gboko; while in Cross River State Abi, Bekwarra, Obanliku, Obudu, Akamkpa and Ogoja.

“It is my belief that the programme will be a huge success from where we will draw lessons to replicate in the other LGAs in Benue and Cross River States and indeed throughout Nigeria,” she added.

She maintained that the grant would go a long way in addressing the problem of poor sanitation and hygiene in the country.

In his remarks, Executive Director, WSSCC, Dr Chris Williams, said the grant was the first donor initiative in Nigeria “developed and led by the Government’s National Task Group on Sanitation, NTGS, which is the instrument for sector coordination.

“The innovation sees international funding matched by national, regional and local funding to significantly improve the sanitation and hygiene situation in two states in Nigeria: Benue State and Cross River State, and thereby setting a framework for replication in other states in order to achieve the national target of an Open Defecation Free, ODF, Nigeria by 2025,” he stressed.

According to him, experiences from Nigeria and elsewhere has shown that simply constructing toilets, or offering subsidies for construction, is not an effective way to improve sanitation.

“Therefore the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria, RUSHPIN, program favors a community-led approach empowering whole communities to collectively change their sanitation and hygiene behavior; ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practices good hygiene.

“The GSF financing of US$5 million over five years provided by WSSCC, will be supplemented by US$2.2 million committed by Benue State Government and US$2.2 million committed by Cross River State government.

In addition, the Federal Government has committed funding of US$ 950,000 to support the program,” he stated.

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