Mr Andy Omoluabi, Director of Programmes, WaterAid Nigeria, says 61 per cent of Plateau residents are in need of potable water.
Omoluabi made the disclosure in Jos, at the inauguration of the project tagged “European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to Implement Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme Phase III.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project being implemented by WaterAid Nigeria is aimed at building the capacity of CSOs to advocate for better governance in the water and sanitation sector in Plateau.
The director also disclosed that 29 per cent of the population in the state also lacked access to decent toilet facilities and 54 per cent defecated in the open.
This development, the organisation said had exposed the to all kinds of diseases, such as cholera, dysentery Lassa fever and host of others.
“About 61 per cent of the household in the state currently lives without clean water, 29 per cent without access to a decent toilet and 54 per cent defecate in the open,” he said.
Omoluabi said poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene had devastating effects on the state developmental strides, adding that meeting its goals might be difficult.
“Without sufficient access to clean water and sanitation, it will be difficult for the state to meet the development goals it set for itself.
This is because maternal and infant mortality and rate of school dropouts, particularly among girls, will also increase,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Jaafaru Wuyep, the Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, said that the state government was committed to providing potable water for its populace.
The commissioner said one cardinal objective of the administration was provision of infrastructure development; hence, making potable water available in all parts of the state was imperative.
“Immediately we assumed office, we promised to among others things to embark on massive infrastructure development and the most important aspect of that is the provision of potable water.
This because water as we all knows is life.
“Though, we have been faced with paucity of funds since we assumed office, but as a government, we will do everything we can to see that potable water is provided to our people.
“We have been thinking outside the box, which is why we are partnering with various donor agencies to ensure that our people at both rural and urban areas have clean water,” he said.
Wuyep added that as part of its commitment, the state government had recently released N550 million as counterpart funds for the EU-UNICEF water project to address shortage of water supply at rural and urban areas.