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.
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 News Agency of Nigeria reports that 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.
Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) has pledged to support the World Bank in the implementation of the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) programme in Nigeria.
NEWSAN National Coordinator, Mr Benson Attah, made the pledge when he led his members on a courtesy visit to the SURWASH Programme Implementation Office in Abuja on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 700 million U.S. dollars programme is being implemented in seven states of Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau.
SURWASH will provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services and improve WASH services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities.
Attah noted that NEWSAN works to support the Federal Government in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of scaling up access to potable water and sanitation.
He commended FG’s efforts in meeting the SDGs, saying such was reflected in its various intervention programmes.
“We are optimistic that this new project which rests on the theme of programme for results will be different from other projects, as we have seen its objective to include effective monitoring and evaluation.
“NEWSAN has a huge role to play in achieving stated objectives of the SURWASH project, and our partnership would go a long way in advocacy and encourage community partnership for sustainability,” he said.
SURWASH National Programme Coordinator, Mr Abdulhamid Gwaram, said CSOs play a critical role in project implementation and could serve as watchdogs.
According to him, the civil societies will serve as a medium for passing the right information towards reducing misinformation and disinformation.
Gwaram added that SURWASH programme was part of interventions to support the implementation of the National WASH action plan.
The national coordinator said that the role of continuous orientation of all partners towards ensuring community ownership and sustainability was paramount.
He, however, said that the six-year programme had made huge impact within its first year, saying this was made possible through the support and commitment of the Federal ministry of Water Resources. (
By Tosin Kolade
The National Coordinator of the Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat, Ms. Chizoma Opara, urged all states to take ownership of federal government sanitation and hygiene intervention plans to achieve the national goal .
Opara, who said this at a stakeholder roundtable on improving Nigeria's water, sanitation and hygiene implementation in Abuja, said the goal was achieve open defecation-free Nigeria (ODF) by 2025.
The event was organized by the Water and Sanitation Company (NEWSAN). Opara, who argued that the federal government's efforts must be complemented, added that it was sad that the states' current efforts are minimal.
She said the Clean Nigeria campaign was put in place by the federal government to make Nigeria open defecation-free Nigeria by 2025, through behavior change.
“Currently our goal is to have at least 200 ODF local governments by December 2021, so far we only have 71 so far and these have been achieved through the efforts of development partners. over the years.
“It is sad that there is not a single local government area that led the process from start to finish, the establishment of a local government area is about the grassroots, so this is the commitment we need. "
The national coordinator said it was sad that 46 million Nigerians still practice open defecation in parts of the country, saying Kwara led with around 64% of its population.
She said that while the federal government has developed a roadmap, states are also following suit, however, noted that states should sincerely commit to follow-up to ensure accountability for the project.
Opara stressed the need for all sections of society to mobilize a new culture of safe sanitation through communication and advocacy for behavior change, saying this would go a long way in creating a transformational culture nationwide.
UNICEF WASH Specialist Bioye Ogunjobi urged civil society to hold levels of government accountable, saying this would go a long way in strengthening sanitation and hygiene in the country.
According to him, resources are dwindling, hence the need for Nigeria to mobilize funds to meet sanitation and hygiene needs.
He said funds from development partners amounted to less than 1% of the country's GDP.
“We are aware that states like Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta are much richer than some of these developed countries supporting Nigeria, why don't we see how to raise funds for ourselves.
"We cannot go on like this, it must not be 'business as usual', the federal government should also release funds for human rights and this can be done with proper oversight by the organizations of the civil society (CSO). ''
NEWSAN Country Coordinator Benson Attah said Nigeria would need around $ 122 billion and three times the current WASH investment to meet the country's goal.
He said that while NEWSAN's 2020-2025 strategic plan has a comprehensive vision of achieving WASH access for all by 2030, he noted the need to adhere to Leave No One Behind.
According to him, the workshop was also a way to deliberate on the operationalization of the proposed WASH Fund, saying it would go a long way in changing the narratives.
By Tosin Kolade
The African Council of Ministers Responsible for Water (AMCOW) on Thursday pledged to support Nigeria in delivering on its Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) commitment to improve sanitation and hygiene by 2025.
AMCOW Acting Executive Secretary Mr. Thomas Banda said this when receiving members of the Water and Sanitation Society (NEWSAN) in Abuja.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the Nigerian government, through the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, pledged in 2019 to create a $ 122 billion fund for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to achieve the country's goal.
Banda urged member states to align their national sanitation policies with the sustainable development goals.
He said the recently published African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) was a continental guideline that prescribed the reference on what a sanitation policy should look like.
“We urge our member states to sit down and review their sanitation policies that are already in place. According to our statistics, most of these sanitation policies that have been reviewed have been reviewed during the MDGs.
“But now that we are talking about the SDGs, in order for us to achieve the six SDGs on accelerated access to sanitation, we really need to make sure that these sanitation policies are very SDG-focused and not the MDGs.
“We also noted that there are many gaps in existing policies in countries, many countries do not have sanitation policy guidelines at all.
“So we developed the continental ASPG to provide guidelines to member states, so that they can develop their own tailor-made sanitation policies,” Bandan said.
He congratulated NEWSAN for its activities aimed at supporting the country in improving access to improved sanitation and hygiene and pledged to continue to advocate at the continental level.
He noted that AMCOW's mandate was continental and Nigeria's mandate was only one of 55 member states, saying the continental progress report drawn up each year showed that Nigeria had positive trends that showed that he was moving in the right direction.
“We have heard about the Clean Nigeria campaign, it is a very good initiative and many other indicators that show that it is progressing well, but like any other Member State there are still challenges.
“Many investment gaps, if we are to meet our water and sanitation goals in the SDGs, we still have a long way to go in closing the investment gaps.
"The visit was calm and positive, ideas were exchanged, AMCOW as a continental organization can make the voice of member states' aspirations heard at national level."
Mr. Benson Attah, national coordinator of NEWSAN, said the visit was a plea to support government efforts and follow up on commitments made to sanitation and water for all in 2019, which proposed the creation of a fund WASH for the country.
“We see it as something and it will also help accelerate the achievement of the national goal of reaching the goal of no open defecation by 2025 and will also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“Based on the resources the government has earmarked for this is $ 122 billion, we know that most efforts to scale up WASH in the country are being led by the federal government, which shouldn't be the case,” most states are not ready when it comes to implementing water and sanitation in their states.
"Nigeria has only four years to reach its target, out of the 774 LGAs, we currently have 62 that are open defecation free, if we keep moving at this rate we will not meet our Goals.
"We see the need to mobilize stakeholders to support the establishment of the WASH fund and also to allow access to implement water and sanitation projects and also to make contributions."
Attah noted that while AMCOW is coordinating member states to accelerate WASH on the continent, its presence in Nigeria could be best felt through advocacy for Nigeria to meet its national target.
He said the group will continue to strengthen the partnership with other stakeholders to support the country in its efforts to intensify water and hygiene promotion.
The group’s Coordinator in the state, Dr Mary Adeyanju, made the call during a sensitisation visit to Iremo community, Odo-Ado area of Ado-Ekiti as part of activities to commemorate the World Toilet Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NEWSAN is a network of NGOs working on water and sanitation in Nigeria.
NAN also reports that this year’s World Toilet Day has, as its theme, “Sustainable Toilet and Climate Change.”
Adeyanju said that the group was leveraging on the significance of the Day to reach out to people in order to promote the campaign for functional toilet per households in the state.
According to her, it is one thing to build a toilet in an apartment, it is another to build a functional and sustainable one that conforms with the set environmental standards.
The NEWSAN coordinator described the level of conformity with toilet availability in Iremo community as very encouraging, urging residents not to relent in ensuring that toilet project in every home was completed within record time.
“We felt it is appropriate to dialogue with the people, as part of the stakeholders’ responsibility today, being the World Toilet Day set aside by the United Nations.
“We have seen in this community that almost every house has a toilet facilities, although most of them are not in good conditions.
“It is not appropriate to have a toilet and still engage in open defection due to the state of the facilities,” she said.
Adeyanju called for enforcement of laws mandating every house to have access to appropriate toilet facilities to prevent people from defecating around.
“Although the state government is working on becoming an open defecation-free state, my own recommendation is that government should enforce the law that will make every household to have access to appropriate toilet facilities,” she said.
In his remarks, Mr Love Ogundipe, National Programme Manager, Environmental Development and Family Health Organisation (EDFHO), noted that access to safe and functioning toilet had positive impact on public health, human dignity and personal safety, especially for women.
According to him, 4.2 billion people worldwide live without good sanitation, while about 673 million people practice open defecation.
He said NEWSAN was using the Day to dialogue with the residents of the community on the need for them to complement government’s efforts towards discouraging open defecations in the state.
“The activities also include inspection of households and checking of community’s compliance with provision of toilet and community sanitation,” he said.
Ogundipe emphasised the need to promote the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which was aimed at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, particularly open defecation.
In his contribution, Mr Olu Ogunrotimi, the Executive Director, EDFHO, emphasised the need for every stakeholder to be alive to his/her responsibility in ensuring hygienic and safe environment in the state.
“To me, every stakeholder must be up and doing, including every household in the communities, to achieve the desired objectives as far safe and hygienic environment is concerned,” he said.
Mrs Ajayi Adekemi, Head of Environmental Department, Ado Local Government council, in her remarks, called on the community to take action on noticed gaps within the community, especially buildings without functional toilets and those disposing waste into water channels.
Mr Gabriel Afolabi, a community leader in Iremo, called for government’s assistance to ensure provision of adequate and appropriate toilet facilities in the neighborhood.
“Most of our people are ready to obey government’s directive on the toilet issue but are hampered by lack of resources to provide the facilities.
“We can only appeal to government to assist us in this regard,” he said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and
Source: NAN‘Wale Sadeeq