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NEWS: Nigerian groups seek implementation of UN right to water resolutions

The Lagos Daily Champion newspaper reports, “The UN Human Rights Council, in a landmark decision on Sept. 30, 2010, adopted a resolution which declared access to safe water and sanitation a human rights issue after series of debate. Observers, however, note that the UN General Assembly had on July 28, 2010, declared people’s access to clean drinking water and good sanitation a basic human right. By the declaration, the UN General Assembly concludes that safe water and good sanitation are essential to human existence.”

“Nigeria is reportedly one of the 122 countries that voted in favour of the resolution, after more than 15 years of contentious debate on the issue, while the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, Botswana and 36 other nations abstained from voting. In spite of Nigeria’s support for the declaration, Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs) promoting water and sanitation issues in Nigeria have been calling on the Federal Government to implement the UN resolution on water. Even though officials of some of the CSOs commend the Federal Government for signing the resolution, they, nonetheless, demand for the immediate implementation of the resolution in the country.”

SOCIETY FOR WATER AND PUBLIC PROTECTION: “Mr Hope Ogbeide, the Director of Society for Water and Public Protection, urges the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the resolution by making tangible efforts to provide potable water and good sanitation facilities for Nigerians. Ogbeide proposes a daily provision of 30 litres of water free of charge for every Nigerian. He says that if that benchmark is achieved and sustained, Nigeria can progressively move from the provision of 30 litres to 50 litres of water per person — the minimum standard recommended by the UN for affluent countries.”

SOCIETY FOR WATER AND SANITATION: “Mr Leo Atakpu, the National Coordinator of Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), urges the Federal Government to enforce the UN resolution in the country. He stresses that it will be a good starting point if Nigeria is able to provide 30 litres of water for a citizen each day since the dearth of water also affects sanitation. Atakpu notes that human rights activists across the world, including those in Nigeria, celebrated the passage of the resolution on the people’s right to safe water and good sanitation.”

WEST AFRICA REGIONAL LEARNING CENTRE ON SANITATION: “Mrs Ada Oko-Williams, WaterAid’s Head of West Africa Regional Learning Centre on Sanitation, also urges the Federal Government to promote and implement the UN resolution on people’s right to safe water. She urges the CSOs to create appreciable public awareness on the need to promote water as a social right which should be respected. ‘The Federal Government, in collaboration with state and local governments, should provide adequate water for the citizens. I think the provision of safe water and basic sanitation should come first. Later, we can work on how to improve the situation and meet the UN standard on the amount of drinking water that should be provided for each citizen daily,’ she adds.”

JUSTICE AND PEACE COMMISSION: “Rev. Fr. Rapheal Aborisade, the Coordinator of Justice and Peace Commission, urges the Federal Government to repair derelict water facilities across the country, as part as part of its efforts to implement the UN resolution. Aborisade argues that the large number of broken-down water facilities across the country has hindered effective water supply to the people. He says that the development has also been militating against the country’s desire to meet the MDGs targets on water and sanitation by 2015.”

The Daily Champion article is at http://www.champion.com.ng/displaycontent.asp?pid=8255.