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UN Warns Against Impending Water & Sanitation Crisis in Lagos



Léo Heller

UN human rights expert, Léo Heller, on Thursday, called for increased funding for water and sanitation in the 2017 budget to address the needs of 21 million residents of Lagos.

Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights to water and sanitation, commented on the budget, after it was presented by Governor Akinwumi Ambode to the Lagos House of Assembly, UN Secretary-General’s office said.

According to him, Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, continues to grow while access to basic services could dwindle.

He stated that the Government reports showed high deficits in the sector, “representing clearly unacceptable conditions for millions of the megacity’s residents”.

Heller said the annual budget discussion was a chance for the city to take more actions in providing water and sanitation to the people.

He also expressed concerns over the high numbers of vulnerable people.

“There is no question that the city’s water and sanitation sector has deteriorated to this point because of the way it has been managed for many years.”

The Special Rapporteur also presented some alternative solutions to the problem for the State Government to consider.

His suggestions include increasing the effectiveness of the public service provider, adopting necessary financing schemes, and reducing water losses.

“For more than a decade, the Government has adopted a hard-line policy according to which the solution would seem to only attract private capital, notably via public-private partnerships (PPPs). Numerous civil society groups have urged the Government to guarantee their right to participate in these processes,” Heller said.

He added that the key to an adequate solution is a participatory process.

According to him, the water and sanitation situation continues to worsen as the population of Lagos increases.

He added that the resources have become scarce, with an estimated 10 per cent of the population having access to water supplied by the State water board.

Heller said residents have also been reported drilling their own boreholes, in hopes to get some water, causing various environmental and health issues, particularly contaminated water consumption.

The Special Rapporteur has reached out to the Nigerian Government earlier this year, and is still waiting for it to provide an update on the water and sanitation issue, the statement said.


  1. Toyin

    December 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    This is such a pertinent issue. I heard about a 3yo recently who died as a result of taking contaminated water. This is a public health issue and is massive. What exactly is being done to provide safe water for Lagos?

  2. Ada Ada

    December 23, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Sigh Nigeria I don tire for the country. Does the govt care?

  3. wale

    December 23, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    America shut up and mind ur business

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm


  4. Amaka

    December 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Government do something before it is too late. Don’t act after the death of citizens. Scrutinize the issue and do thorough investigations asap, this might just be a serious warning. Conduct your own research properly to find out if the guy is right, don’t just brush him aside. A word is enough for the wise. If anything happens in crowded Lagos, you guys will fly abroad but remember the souls of other human beings. Also remember that some meaningful Nigerians today actually came from slums.

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