As the world grapples with the challenge of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic for which water is acknowledged a key battle agent, only about 18 million Nigerians, representing less than 10 per cent of the population, have access to pipe-borne water, a new survey on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH NORM) has shown.
The survey showed that the total number of Nigerians with access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services dropped to 18 million people in 2019 from 21 million in the preceding year. It is not clear if the numbers have dropped further in 2020.
The WASH NORM report published this month is an annual survey of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) was executed in collaboration with the NBS and UNICEF.
The latest report is the second edition of the annual survey designed to provide credible data for policy formulation, planning and monitoring of the WASH sector in the country.
Key findings from the survey revealed that up to 171 million people are off the SDG target for access to safely managed drinking water supply services with only 14 per cent of the population having access to ‘safely managed drinking water supply services’.
Access to safely managed drinking water supply services varies across the six geo-political zones, with the North-east having the lowest access at 2 per cent and the South-west having the highest at 31 per cent.
Accordingly, access for the rural population is at seven per cent, four times lower than access levels for the urban population at 29 per cent.
Also, the report said there is a stark disparity between the richest and poorest households. The latter at (2 per cent) are 22 times less likely to have access to safely managed services than the former at (43 per cent).
The most common sources of drinking water recorded by households were boreholes/tube wells used by 39 per cent of the population. Clean water is a major challenge in Niger Delta because a record of year of constant and unmitigated pollution from extractive activities.