President Muhammadu Buhari has declared a state of emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.

In a statement by Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president maintained that the action became imperative as it will reduce the hig prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which has caused preventable deaths.

Buhari described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water service and sanitation as "disturbing" while committing to implement the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Action Plan.

The statement read: "Access to piped water services which was 32% in 1990 has declined to 7% in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015. Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on open defecation as about 25% of our population are practising open defecation.

''WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46% of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70% of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27% in 2015, which is far below the 0.70% at the West African regional level."

The President also noted that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets (6.1 & 6.2) for WASH are more demanding as they require WASH services to be provided in adequate quantity and quality on premises at affordable prices, while adding that a new approach has to be taken to achieve it.

Buhari called on all state governments to work with the new provision to achieve the SDG targets for WASH by 2030.

''It is on this premise that I fully endorse the decision taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in April this year to declare a state of emergency on our WASH Sector.

''I call on all state governments to complement this effort by according the sector similar recognition to enable us work together to achieve the SDG targets for WASH by 2030."

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