– Urges govt. to provide safe water for Nigerians
(By Adebayo Oladejo)
As the world marked the 2014 World Water Day on22 March, the Network of Civil Society Organisations on Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), Lagos chapter, has expressed concerns over the United Nation’s report that by the year 2030, water shortage in the world might increase by 40 percent, if drastic measures were not taken to reduce the current rate of water losses.
NEWSAN is a registered, non-profit civil society network dedicated to the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to the poorest people of Nigeria. It comprises over 300 civil society organisations in Nigeria which advocate for pro-poor policies and influence policy makers to secure the right of poor people to affordable water and sanitation services.
Speaking with newsmen at a press briefing organised by the group to mark the World Water Day in Lagos, NEWSAN coordinator in the state, Mr Henry OluwarotimimiAdenigba, said the main objective of the press conference was to raise awareness on how water and energy were fundamentally interlinked, and how most forms of energy production (including hydroelectric, nuclear and thermal energy relied on water.
He stated that the goal of this year’s World Water Day was “to encourage increased awareness among decision-makers inside and outside water and energy domains, as well as stakeholders and practitioners about the inner linkages, potential synergies and trade-offs.”
Adenigba also added that in Nigeria many people do not have access to fresh water.”Water is sourced privately and sold in most places by water vendors. Only 60 per cent of the population have access to safe drinking water,” he said.
The NEWSAN boss also revealed that the advent of bottled and sachet water had not really eased the scarcity of safe water in the country as majority of people in the rural areas lacked access to the so-called pure water. Besides, according to him, “another important question that we should ask ourselves is, how pure are these so called pure water because we have seen some instances where people produce these “pure water” from their kitchens, toilets and backyards. So what we are looking at is potable water, one that is drinkable and safe, and we want all Nigerians to have unhindered access to it. Everybody should be able to afford it, drink it and use it as at when due.”
Also speaking, MrBabatundeFolorunsho, advocacy adviser for Safe Children Organisation, an international organisation that focuses on the health of children, said all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigerians know the proper usage of water as well as the dangers of unsafe water and poor sanitation. He also called on all civil society organisations to do more in ensuring that they partner with the government in its efforts to improve the living conditions of the populace.
Among the civil society organisations represented at the programme were, Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development, represented by MrEwabong Thompson; People Against HIV/AIDS in the Barracks, represented by MrsEwaEkpenyong; Health Guard Foundation, represented by Pharm. ModupeOlogunagba; People’s Empowerment Organisation, represented by Mrs Philomena Okure; Rhoda Haven, represented by Ihemenam Jones; Arms of Comfort Foundation, represented by MrsOnabanjoKafayat; Community Aid Development, represented by Mrs Evans Enwejoh; Harnessed Efforts and Health Development Initiative, represented by Adebayo Damilola; Health Information for All in the Community, represented by MrsOlufunkeAdeshina; Lagos State Ministry of Environment, represented by Mr Savage Sheriff and MrsMatufe Y.A; among others.