Melaye exposes embezzlement in Ministry of Water Resources

OrderPaperToday- Senator Dino Melaye has accused the Ministry of Water Resources of using projects embarked upon by international donor agencies as justification for provisions implemented in budget.

His allegation stems from a point of order on the declining state of the water sector in the country.

Melaye stated that the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Bank and other international donors have done significantly well in providing water in rural areas. “But, every year, we roll out billions of Naira, budget after budget for the same purpose and these monies are not returned back to the treasury.”

He explained further: “Year in year out, there is nothing to show for it. My investigations reveal that projects embarked upon by these donor agencies is what the Ministry of Water Resources, is using as justification for the provisions in the budget for those services.

“Improving the water sector will have significant implications for poverty reduction and human development. UNICEF and other donor agencies invest in water projects in Nigeria while budgetary provisions for water projects are embezzled and World Bank and UNICEF’s project are used as justifications for government interventions.”

Buttressing his claim, he informed that access to pipe water in urban areas declined from 32 percent in the 90s to seven percent today, according a World Bank report.

Also, in rural areas, it has declined to one percent and “I think the rural population deserve more attention than the urban centres.”

He continued: “Nigeria needs to invest at least three times more to achieve SDGs goal. Nearly 30 percent of water schemes fail within first year of operation.

“In Nigeria, 71 million people continue to live without access to improved water. While 130 people do not meet the MDGs standard for water supply. The lack of water services adversely affect one’s health, hinders their access to economic opportunities and affects work efficiency and labour productivity.”

He lamented that Nigeria is behind other countries in access to pipe water and it has dropped in every three persons in the 90s to less than one person today.

Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe corroborated this submission noting that in the 21st century Nigeria is still dealing with providing boreholes instead of portable water through pipes into every house hold.

“It is a big shame to Nigeria, whereas everywhere else in the world people are moving forward in providing all these amenities. Today, we have gone one step forward and ten steps back ward.

“I support an inquiry be made by the Committee of Water to find out what has been done to the millions of Naira and Euros that have gone into the ministry and donor agencies. It is mind boggling to see what they have done with our resources.”

The red chamber then resolved that an ad hoc committee carry out the investigation while urging the Federal Government to find pathway for better water delivery in Nigeria, close implementation gaps in their delivery and encourage private sector integration.

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