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Thursday, June 13, 2024

CSOs want special fund for water, sanitation, hygiene in Nigeria

The Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) has called on tiers of government to make funds available to cater for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) needs of citizens.

Kalaba community
Water provision: Paramount Ruler of Kalaba, Chief Francis Kolibo, fetching drinking water from a tap

Mr Benson Attah, NEWSAN National Coordinator, made the call at the Post 2022 Sector Ministers Meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) news conference in Abuja.

According to him, tiers of government should prioritise improving access to potable water and sanitation, as it is critical to meeting all other sustainable development goals in the country.

“States must support the institutionalising of a National WASH fund, states must make it a priority and support the local government to live up to its responsibilities.

“We want a local government system that transforms the WASH unit into a department, thereby allocating budgets for building sanitation facilities and water points.’’

The national coordinator said NEWSAN was working on a project to hold aspirants seeking elective positions accountable to prioritise access to water and sanitation.

He said there was need for citizens to hold political leaders accountable at all times, to improve access to potable water and sanitation.

“We are working on engaging aspirants into elective positions to hold them to account and this will be done by signing a pledge card that will show the commitment and we will monitor them.

“We cannot afford to be complacent in this country; Nigeria has no business recording continuous cases of water-borne diseases.

“Most occurrences can be linked to low political will to do things right, we must reduce the disease burden in the country.’’

He, however, urged the media to help monitor the prioritisation of WASH services in parts of the country, saying this could be done through advocacy and reportage of issues.

Attah said over the years, NEWSAN had made extensive efforts at ensuring that WASH took central stage in Nigeria with support and collaboration of the Sanitation and Water for All organisation.

He, however, pledged the commitment of the organisation to improve WASH service delivery across the country, saying this was being done through engagement with key stakeholders.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, had also pledged government’s commitment at the just concluded SWA sector ministers’ meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Part of the commitment includes the need for countries to undertake the necessary reforms to guarantee the human rights to water and sanitation for all, always and everywhere.

It also stressed the need to improve sector performance to attract new finance and managing existing funds, and to increase prioritisation of climate-resilient water and sanitation in national budgets.

By Tosin Kolade

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