Why We're Clamouring For Water As Human Right In Nigeria

Published: Wed 23 Mar 2011 10:12 AM
Why We're Clamouring For Water As Human Right In Nigeria, By Era
FOREMOST environmental rights advocacy group in Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) has advanced reasons why they are lobbying the Federal Government to domesticate water as one of the human rights in the country.
ERA's Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, said in an on-line statement to AkanimoReports on Tuesday that Nigerians want Abuja to honor all water agreements that are not tied to the dictates of donor agencies and profit-only businesses.
''There must also be a comprehensive probe of scams that have dogged the water sector as well as enactment of laws that guarantee the right to water. The era of politicizing an indispensable common good is over” Bassey insisted.
According to him, ''ERA wants government to go beyond mere pronouncements by domesticating the right to water which it ratified along with 121 other countries in 2010 if it is serious about tackling water shortages which has inflicted hardship and avoidable diseases on the citizenry.
Their explanation came on the occasion of this year’s World Water Day (March 22) with the theme: Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge, which the United Nations said, reinforces the need for governments, organisations, communities and individuals to actively engage in tackling the challenges of urban water management.
They are claiming that poor urban planning and poor enforcement of standards for waste management across Nigerian cities has further complicated government’s failure in guaranteeing its citizens enjoy “an indispensable good” which water represents.
“It is no longer debatable that these avoidable challenges have contributed to stymie Nigeria’s quest at attaining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of halving the number of people without safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015 but What is most disturbing however, is the fact that all levels of government are still complacent in reversing the status quo even after Nigeria ratified water as a human right,” Bassey said.
Continuing, ERA said, ''we are profoundly disturbed that at this point Nigeria should be listed among countries making very slow progress towards the attainment of the MDGs because it is surrounded by water, has enough annual rainfall, and the resources to guarantee adequate and safe drinking water for all uses”
Adding, the group said, ''we are also profoundly disturbed that our government, with the huge resources generated from oil, rather than provide its people water, have perfected the art of running to donor agencies to fund water projects,” even as he added that the huge resources voted for water schemes yearly in the Federal and State budgets are yet to translate to more water for the people”.
''The abdication of this all-important responsibility by government has paved the way for big businesses and multinational corporations that fleece our people'', they insisted.

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