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2.1 million Nigerians to access safe drinking water as the EC, Nigeria and UNICEF sign N5.5 billion (€33.3 million) agreement

Abuja, 14 July 2005 - The European Commission (EC), the Nigerian Government and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have signed a four-year grant agreement for a Rural Water and Sanitation Project worth €33.3 million (about N5.5 billion) that will provide safe drinking water to over 2 million Nigerians in 1,400 communities in 6 States of the country.

According to Mr. Marc Fiedrich, Charge d’Affair EC Delegate to Nigeria, “This is part of the goal of supporting developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Water is often referred to as ‘life’ and we believe that access to safe drinking water will have a positive effect on the morbidity and mortality rates of this country.”

 The aim of the project is to improve access to safe drinking water and promote sanitation and hygiene in 1,400 rural communities in 30 local government areas in six states. The six states are Abia, Cross River, Gombe, Kebbi, Osun, and Plateau. It is expected that an estimated 2.1 million people will benefit directly from this project.

“The 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey data show that there has been significant deterioration in access to safe water leading to increased deterioration of health standards. We are therefore pleased to be part of a project that will reduce the burden of water borne diseases, especially among children.” Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative said   .

The Rural Water and Sanitation project is part of a larger EC-funded programme which was approved in December 2004 for €87 Million (about N14.4 billion). This larger programme supports water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion in urban centres, small towns and rural areas in the same six states.

UNICEF will manage the implementation of the rural water supply and sanitation component of the project within the context of the Federal Government of Nigeria/UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation.

This component of the Programme of Cooperation seeks to improve delivery of safe water and sanitation in rural areas and schools towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and improving learning environment for children in primary schools.

For further information:

  • Geoffrey NJOKU
    Communication Officer
    UNICEF Nigeria
    Tel: 08035250288; Email:  
  • Mr Kelechi Onyemaobi
    Press & Information Officer
    Delegation of the European Commission to the Federal Republic of Nigeria
    tel: + 234 (9) 524 4000-7; E-mail:



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