Stakeholders In Enugu Want Citizens to Demand Rights In Water, Sanitation IssuesFeatured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State Saturday, December 14th, 2019
From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Stakeholders in Enugu state, South- East Nigeria, have expressed concern over the nonchalant attitude of elected political office holders in the state and country at large in the area of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), challenging the citizens to rise up and demand for their rights in that regard.
They regretted that the sector has over the years been relegated to the background by policy makers, at the local, state, and federal government levels, positing that such ugly development has continued to endanger the lives of millions of Nigeria’s, especially in the rural communities.
African Examiner recalled that an international agency, with bias in water and hygiene issues, WaterAid Nigeria , had in a summary report it released on the implementation of the 2019 Vote 4 WASH electoral campaign in Nigeria this year, hinted that about 55 million people do not have access to clean water in Nigeria, while 116 million lack access to basic sanitation
The report further revealed that 43 million rural dwellers lack access to clean water, while 12 million urban residents lack access to the essential commodity, stressing that unsafe water and inadequate sanitation are two of the greatest drivers of world poverty and inequality.
According to the report, 40 million people in Nigeria practices open deification and 110 lack basic hand washing facilities with soap and water.
The stakeholders, who gathered Wednesday in Enugu at an event to x- ray the vote 4 WASH campaign, and “Keep your promises campaign” put together by WaterAid in collaboration with an Enugu based non governmental organization NGO, Global Health Awareness Research Foundation GHARF, called on Nigerian leaders to always deliver on their water and sanitation campaign promises.
They noted that clean water and good sanitation are essential for sustainable social and economic development, pointing out that access to these services are basic human rights, but regretted that the Nigerian reality does not reflect the aforementioned principles.
In her remarks, president of GHARF, Professor (Mrs) Obioma Nwaorgu, disclosed that her organization is partnering with WaterAid Nigeria, and Enugu state government to implement the San Mark Expansion Scale- up (SES) programme in the state towards improving access to (WASH), services through collaboration with key sector Actors .
“Usually, during elections, our people demand money from politicians in exchange for votes. In the recent 2019 general elections, WaterAid and patterns decided to change this reality, with vote 4 WASH campaign . That is encouraging voters to vote for candidates who are committed to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services
She explained that some of the objectives of Vote 4 WASH includes, educating citizens on their human rights to water and sanitation, to sensitize citizens on how to hold their leaders accountable, before, during and after elections, among others .
The WaterAid officer, in charge of programme Monitoring, Evaluation and Representative in Enugu state, Mr. Eta Eteta, said the gathering was aimed at bringing stakeholders together to found out if the politicians are truly keeping to their 2019 campaign promises on issues relating to (WASH) in the Enugu state.
Permanent Secretary, Enugu state Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Ada Nwoye, and Special Assistant to governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on water Resources, Mr. Dubem Onyia (Junior), had in their separate speeches, said the state government is always disposed towards implementing human oriented water policies.
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