UNICEF chides Nigeria for poor projects implementation
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has blamed the set back suffered by the Water, Sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects sited around Nigeria on improper projects implementation, amongst other challenges.
Martha Hokonya, a WASH specialist for UNICEF, speaking at the media dialogue on European Union (EU) Niger delta water project held in port Harcourt, also listed other factors hindering the WASH projects in Nigeria to include, delays in release of counter part funding by state governments.
She disclosed that “most of the wash projects have been hindered by poor operational and monitoring process, unavailability of affordable models for riverine communities, poor capacity of contractors coupled with poor contact management amongst others”.
Speaking on the efforts made thus far, Hokonya noted that some states like Rivers and Delta states have established the WASH policies and mainstreamed into the states law to enhance wash practices and projects in states.
Zaid Jurji, Chief of WASH for UNICEF explained that most project in Nigeria has been stopped and funds returned to donors for lack of required capacity among contractors.
He said, “When we go for inspection and discovers that the projects are not up to standard, what we do is to return the resources back to the donors and such projects are stopped, this has over the years hampered our efforts to access funds from the donors also”.
Jurji stressed on the need for greater focus on the Niger delta region, acclaimed to be the world third wetland and which is prone to flooding.
According to him” the region is characterised by challenged environment because of flat environment and it poseses a weak operational and maintenance frame work.
“The Niger delta region is unique being the world third largest wetland with biological diversity, rich oil and gas reserves, prone to flooding and highly challenged environment”.
Jurji also noted that low political and financial commitment as well as low private sector participation has over the years constrained sanitation in Nigeria, stressing that there is need for sanitation to be prioritised by the Nigeria government.
“The key issues affecting sanitation in Nigeria includes weak institutional arrangement and limited technical knowledge, lack of technology to meet geographical conditions, low private sector participation as well as low political and financial commitment from the government”.
“More people have access to cell phone than improved sanitation in Nigeria “, he added.
Micheal Forson,a WASH specialist for UNICEF, who also spoke at the event, noted that the WASH program aims to mitigate the conflict in the region by addressing the main causes of unrest and violence which is often tied to unemployment and lack of basic services.
He stressed on the objectives of the program as it aims to promote a continuous institutionalised dialogue among stakeholders to strengthen the social bond and contribute to reduction of conflict in the region.
He said “We are working to create an increased access to improved sanitation and proper hygiene practice in the rural communities and schools and also promote institutionalised dialogue among stakeholders to strengthen and contribute to reduction of conflict situations”
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja
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