Bauchi, March 22, 2019 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 339,701 persons in  Bauchi  had access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in communities, schools and health centres in the state last year.

Mr Bhanu Pathak, UNICEF Chief  Field  Office, Bauchi, disclosed this at the commemoration of the 2019 World Water Day on Friday in Bauchi.

Pathak, represented by UNICEF official, Mr David Demian, said Bauchi State Government, UNICEF and Department for International Development (DFID) were collaborating under Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) project “to provide water and accelerate sanitation in 12 local government Areas in the state.

“ Over of N1 billion was spent in the construction and rehabilitation of various water and sanitation schemes in various communities, schools and primary health care facilities in the 12 benefiting local government areas.

“In 2018, the collaboration between Bauchi government, DFID and UNICEF has resulted in 145,092 people, 188,800 pupils and 5,809 caregivers having access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene’’,  he said.

He said that the Bauchi state government released the sum of N510 million as counterpart contribution for construction of 470 hand pump boreholes and solar schemes in over 470 locations across the state.

Pathak  said that another N20 million was released as sanitation pool fund to be managed by Micro Finance Institution  as a reliving fund to increase the construction of improved latrines as an effort to meet the Sustainable Development  Goals (SDGs).

In his contribution, the Bauchi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Ibrahim Ayuba, said that the state would develop action plan on water, sanitation and hygiene

He also said that the state would declare a state of emergency in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to further improve and safeguard the health of the public.

The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that  as part of activities commenting them days, primary school pupils from Dass,Warji,Gamawa,Shira,Tiro,Bogoro,Ganjuwa,Zaki,Bauchi, Katagum,Ningi and Alkaleri Local Government Areas participated in a debate.

The debate, which bordered on water, sanitation and hygiene, saw  Dass LGA emerging winner, with Shira won the second position while   Toro came third.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration is “Leaving no one Behind”.