“Abuja’s 2021 population is projected and estimated at 3,977,740. In 1950, the population of Abuja was just 18,977. Abuja has grown by 836,049 since 2015, which represents a 6.07% annual change”
By Kachime Goyang Gotau
Apart from geographical inequalities and poverty, which deprives a large cross-section of our population of access to water and to quality water; poor water culture (demand, supply and management) and especially lack of water education among youths, are the biggest challenges facing water demand and management in Nigeria, thus impeding significant efforts towards addressing water scarcity and quality around Africa, Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja in particular.
Abuja’s 2021 population is projected and estimated at 3,977,740. In 1950, the population of Abuja was just 18,977. Abuja has grown by 836,049 since 2015, which represents a 6.07% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the urban agglomeration of Abuja, which typically includes Abuja’s population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.
Water security can be referred to as the availability of an adequate safe water supply that generally supports livelihoods, good health and production. The residents of Abuja must rise to the occasion else the current state of affairs in the FCT water sector will continue to degenerate amidst an already worsened water insecurity caused by Population explosion, under-staffed water board, criminal sabotage by vandals and water vendors cum unpatriotic clientele among citizens of the FCT.
Despite UNESCO and UN-Habitat’s increasing global partnership with Federal Government in the water sector by engaging with policymakers and leaders, knowledge-holders and innovators in the Sector; the commitment of local officials and stakeholders is not felt in the communities, especially the peri-urban areas of Nyanya/AMAC.
No doubt, the motivation of youths and the FCT-Public through the creation of a public forum for dialogue on water security in the FCT, motivation of youth to become more involved in research, development, innovation, enterprise and partnerships that address water security issues in the FCT sub-urbs; will all lead to a health citizenry for the nation’s capital city and SDG’s goal 6 (Clean Water & Sanitation) towards realizing the 2030 UN agenda for sustainable development.
The theme for World Water Day 2021 is “valuing water” and highlights the importance of conserving water and its value. Water as a natural resource and the most demanded of all resources, like Oxygen, has a direct impact on peace, economic strife, economic progress and political stability…
Unfortunately, water security is the least understood among the youth populations of Africa, giving rise to massive water wastage, counter – utilization and pollution etc. Abuja as a modern city of Africa is still grappling with water demand management- predicaments, with its peri-urban centres like Nyanya/AMAC witnessing untold water scarcity during the dry season (despite huge investments by the government in the lower Usuma Dam and the Nyanya waterworks).
Methodically, the following planned activities and approaches can be employed for successful implementation of water security in Abuja metropolis and its suburbs, starting with Nyanya/AMAC as a pilot:
1. Planned meetings, advocacy and sensitization and community mobilization by the Water Board Officials to discuss water demand, management and insecurity issues etc by stakeholders, with women groups involved, as very critical stakeholders.
2. Enable the creation of ward development committees (WDC) and water security community development committees (WSCDC) in Nyanya/AMAC in particular; comprising of the following members: a ward/clan head as patron, an elected chairman, an elected female secretary, chairmen of village/community development committees, headmaster of the school and or principal of the school, Senior water engineer or geologist (WASH specialist), ward committee development officer, representatives of occupational groups (NGO/International organizations, water vendors association chairman/delegation, religious groups, women and youth groups, chairmen of patent medicine stores/medicine dealers, traditional healers and heads of facilities in the area etc.
In conclusion and going forward in a new route occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Abuja and Nigeria’s rising youth population deserves the timely initiatives spearheaded by committed public and private/NGO sectors and as supported by UNESCO, UN-Habitat and sundry international development partners and volunteers in order to curb with the pandemic of water insecurity in Africa; which is responsible for poor youth and public health, short life expectancy and numerous fatal disease conditions that lead to waste of hard-earned lean resources on what are “just preventable water-borne diseases”.
The thriving culture of misplaced priority by the political class must not continue in a post-Covid era; with incredible wastage of over 75% of investments in the water sector – in what Actionaid-Nigeria once described as “Off Track & Off Target”, there is an urgent need for a change of attitude and water culture in general.
The Water sector is still requiring reforms and youth groups must participate in this processes (on-going dialogue). The Nigerian National Water Policy of 2016 must be implemented starting from mass public education and C4D strategies, engaging experts and critical stakeholders.
Kachime Goyang Gotau a Producer & Communication for Development Journalist sent in this from Abuja in commemoration of World Water Day (March 23rd 2021) Signed/dated Publication and Assignation of Copyright
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