By Mohammed Usman
State governments have started involving in the federal government’s matching fund of $5million as counterpart contribution for the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN).
A statement signed by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Margaret Umoh, said Nigeria secured the grant for the project through the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS).
The statement added that NTGS is a coalition body of the relevant government ministries, departments and agencies, development partners and civil society organisations working in the sanitation sub-sector.
The statement reads in parts; “The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, disclosed this during the meeting with State Governors on the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) in Abuja.
“As we are all aware, access to improved sanitation in Nigeria has declined over time. As a result, there are over 70 million people without access to improve sanitation and more than 45 million people practicing open defecation in Nigeria.”
“Recognizing the public health risk, the Federal Government is calling on states and development partners to invest in the water, sanitation and hygiene sub-sector as Federal Government cannot fund it all alone.
“Adamu said that the RUSHPIN project which is going on in 6 Local Government Areas of Benue and Cross River States is a good example of government’s efforts in mobilizing resources to the sector in view of the limited resources available.
“The Minister added that the Federal Government through the instrument of Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme and the roadmap of ending open defecation by 2025 in the country, has demonstrated commitment in addressing the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
“Adamu thanked the Executive Director of Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Dr. Chris Williams for the support given to Nigeria through the Global Sanitation Fund grant.
“While thanking Ondo and Sokoto States for their interest in the RUSHPIN project, he called on other states to key into the project as investing in water, sanitation and hygiene would protect the health of the people.
“Present at the meeting were the governors of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
“Responding, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom said that in conjunction with the Federal Government, Benue State has paid 5million into the RUSHPIN Project in the state.
Also, Governor Aminu Tambuwal said that the state counterpart fund will be captured in the 2018 budget proposal.
The Governor of Ondo State too, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said that the issue of open defecation in the state is a big challenge, and that they are ready to partner with the Federal Government and other development partners in addressing the issue.