ABUJA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday directed governments at all levels to intensify efforts and work toward meeting the nation's water supply and sanitation needs while declaring a state of emergency on water supply, sanitation, and hygiene sector.
Buhari said the declaration had become critical to reducing the high prevalence of water-borne diseases which have caused preventable deaths in all parts of the country.
He unveiled a national action plan for the revitalization of water supply, sanitation, and the hygiene sector at a ceremony held in Abuja.
The national action plan, dubbed WASH (Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene), would, among other goals, help end open defecation by 2025, according to the president.
He described statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country as "disturbing."
Access to piped water services, which was 32 percent in 1990, had declined to 7 percent as of 2015, while access to improved sanitation had decreased from 38 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 2015, according to government data.
"Our country now ranks number two in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25 percent of our population are practicing open defecation.
"WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable, as 46 percent of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) in 1990 to about 0.27 percent in 2015, which is far below the 0.70 percent at the West African regional level," Buhari said.
He called on governments at all levels to give water supply and sanitation the required attention, saying the high prevalence of water-borne diseases that are being reported in different parts of the country was no longer bearable.