Nigeria’s water crisis endangers 78m children

The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), has warned that unless the federal government acts quickly, the lives of 78 million children are at risk in Nigeria.

UNICEF Nigeria Chief of WASH Dr. Jane Bevan, who gave the warning at the historic UN Water Conference Monday in New York, due to a lack of proactive steps by authorities to address the WASH challenge.

According to a new analysis by UNICEF, 78 million children in Nigeria are at the highest risk from a convergence of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); related diseases; and climate hazards.

said: “In Nigeria, one-third of children do not have access to at least basic water at home, and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services. Hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands due to lack of water and soap at home. As a result, Nigeria is one of the 10 countries that carry the heaviest burden of child deaths from diseases caused by inadequate WASH, such as diarrhoeal diseases.

Nigeria also ranks second out of 163 countries globally with the highest risk of exposure to climate and environmental threats. Groundwater levels are also dropping, requiring some communities to dig wells twice as deep as just a decade ago. At the same time, rainfall has become more erratic and intense, leading to floods that contaminate scarce water supplies.

The Head of UNICEF WASH in Nigeria called for a concerted effort from world leaders to address the water crisis in Nigeria.