The Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), says it has trained hundreds of its members on budget tracking and holding tiers of government accountable toward improved access to potable water and sanitation in the country.
The National Coordinator, Mr Benson Attah, stated this at the workshop in Abuja on Tuesday.
Attah said it was important for its members to contribute their quota in holding levels of governments accountable in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
According to him, building the capacity of its members would strengthen partnerships in the implementation of water and sanitation projects across the country.
He said it was also important for states CSOs to monitor governance and also find legal backing for WASH interventions and formulation of state road-maps for ending open defecation practices in their localities.
“We have come to realise that part of the factors contributing to the poor implementation of the water and sanitation targets are as a result of accountability at both the federal, states and local government levels.
“Going by situations we see, we have been to states and local government councils and see projects carried out to the benefit of the community. We have seen instances where borehole were sank and they had to use water tanker to fill the overhead tank for its commissioning.
“Some projects were commissioned using inferior materials and immediately they finished, the water tower collapsed, and such communities never benefited from such commissioning.
“We have seen cases where contractors were given money to build sanitation facilities, toilets in schools and they were not completed and left abandoned with open-suck away pits”.
He noted that these issues further contributed to the underdevelopment of the citizens, adding that water and sanitation were an entry point to development, health, education, commerce among others.
While commending its partners, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) for supporting its activities, Attah said lack of transparency at different levels, limits the extent to which partners can hold each other to account for mutual commitments.
He said there was the need for the three tier of governments to see that access to water and sanitation were improved upon, adding that stakeholders ought not to compromise in achieving better livelihood for the populace.
Earlier, Mr Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, noted that it was worrisome that only 11 per cent of the population had access to (WASH) services nationwide.
Awe said although the Federal Government had demonstrated high political will to improve access to WASH facilities through it’s numerous programmes, noting that more needs to be done in the states if Nigeria is ready to meet its targets.
“Financing to eliminate inequalities in the sector required putting money where it matters the most, and financing for services which address inequalities must be specifically budgeted and monitored.
“Political and financial rescuing makers are often unaware of the fundamental importance of WASH improvements, which has led to failures in honouring commitments on counterpart funding or signed agreements,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of the federal government to continue to support NEWSAN and in achieving the Open Defecation- after target by 2025.
Dr Elizabeth Jeiyol, National Coordinator, WSSCC Nigeria, said it was imperative that a sustainable system be instituted and supported by the government to encourage CSO engagement for effective WASH governance, saying without governance, WASH services remain unsustainable.
“CSOs need platforms to build capacity and resources to carry out crucial role by holding policymakers accountable and ensuring that budgets are spent and policies are formulated within the right context and sustainability.
“We call on governments to create enabling environment to support and engage CSOs in policy formulation, through access to state structures for citizen participation and attainment of SDGs targets in Nigeria.
“I therefore commend the federal government especially the Ministry of Water Resources and other key stakeholders and partners for the progress so far made in the WASH sector in recent years,” he added.