Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has won the WaterAid’s 2021 President’s Award for championing improved access to hygiene and sanitation in the country.
The award, the highest commendation is presented to exceptional supporters on behalf of WaterAid’s President, HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.
WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Director, Ms. Evelyn Mere, presented the award to the minister on Thursday at an event in Abuja.
She said annually, the organisation tasked its staff and partners globally to nominate individuals and groups, who have shown great commitment to its cause through campaigning, fundraising and advocacy.
According to her, Adamu had shown the highest level of political leadership and advocacy to improve access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the country.
“Since being appointed as Minister for Water Resources in Nigeria eight years ago, Adamu has been a strong supporter of our work.
“He has been using his political will to raise funds from donors to expand and improve WASH services across the 36 states.
“He was a key supporter of the National WASH Action Plan, a roadmap for achieving open defecation-free status for Nigeria.
“He was also instrumental to the government’s pledge to reach 100 per cent coverage for WASH services in rural areas”, she said.
According to her, Adamu’s courage, leadership, and outstanding commitment to achieving results have helped to set Nigeria on a path towards a long-lasting transformation.
Mere said that under his leadership the Federal Government declared a state of emergency in the WASH sector in 2019 and also approved a 13-year National WASH Action plan.
Responding, the minister said it was impressive that the activities of his ministry were recognised as evidenced by the award.
He said he was humbled and encouraged that partners in the clean water project acknowledged that Nigeria was on the right track.
He said that would inspire him and the ministry to do more towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 6.1 and 6.2 which are related to water sanitation hygiene.
“So we are quite happy and as I said, this is an honor not for me. I am just the leader of the pack.
“There are lots of people, lots of good people, working towards meeting the objective and I think they also have cause to celebrate this,” the minister said.
According to him, the real battle is in the states, as they had the most population and urged state governments to show the same level of political will shown by the federal government.
“If we have our governors, all our governors committed as the federal government has been committed, I think it’s a done deal.
“The problem is that while some state governments are very committed, many others are not attaching any serious importance to it,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of the federal government to meeting the national open defecation-free roadmap by 2025, saying that with the ongoing collaboration with the private sector, this was possible.