Mr. Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, has blamed the perennial scarcity of water on the refusal of states to plan for their growing population.
Adamu, who disclosed this at the sideline of a media parley in Abuja on Thursday, said that it was worrisome that many states expected the Federal Government to take over the operation and maintenance of their water schemes.
According to him, it is not the duty of the Federal Government to take over these schemes, but to incentivize the states by making bulk water available in dams nationwide.
“The reason why we have been having this challenge of poor water supply is that there has not been proper planning by the state governments, their water schemes and interventions should always be ahead of the population growth.
“That is the only way they can be ahead of adequate water supply, even the issue of wear and tear, lack of proper operation and maintenance will see minimum operational capacity.
“Even if they are operating at proper capacity, that capacity is even half of the current population, that is why we keep advocating that states put all the incentives to use’’.
He said the present administration had a budget line of two billion naira to support states in urban water supply through approval of the National Water Resources Policy by the Federal Executive Council in 2016.
“Apart from Gombe State, hardly has any state come forward because they had not met the requirements, no water supply master plan, and we put these conditions, not because we want to punish them, but because we want them to do the right thing.
“States need to put these things in place, we cannot just be giving out money when we are not sure that the money given will make the necessary impact’’.
He said it was worrisome that after the Federal Government had spent six billion naira on the Central Ogbia Water Scheme in Bayelsa, it became moribund.
Adamu said the ministry was not mandated to run water supply schemes, treat water, and reticulate them, saying that with any project completion, states must sign and adhere to protocols and guidelines.
The minister called for more commitment from states towards eliminating public defecation, saying that having only 76 open defecation-free local government areas in the country was unimpressive.
He said the ministry had trained and inaugurated 77,400 youth volunteers to act as hygiene ambassadors aimed at scaling up sanitation and hygiene in the country.
Adamu said the National Youth Volunteer Programme on Hand-washing was the Federal Government’s intervention scheme to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and end open defecation in the country.
According to him, the engagement of 100 youth volunteers in each of the 774 local government areas entailed community sensitization and awareness creation on safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.