Stakeholders have called on states benefitting from the $700 million World Bank-supported Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) Programme to show political commitment for project sustainability.
This was the consensus among stakeholders at a virtual SURWASH public consultation meeting held recently.
The meeting was organised by the Bread of Life Development Foundation and other stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector.
The Tide source recalls that the World Bank had approved a $700 million SURWASH programme in seven states of the country.
The benefitting states are; Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau.
Mr Babatope Babalobi, representative of the foundation, said the five-year project would also support Federal Government’s implementation of the National Action Plan, which sought to change the poor narrative in the Water and Sanitation sector.
According to Babalobi, there is need for the World Bank to strengthen its monitoring teams towards ensuring that they get their desired result in improving access to potable water and sanitation for Nigerians.
He said the need to have strong human capacity institutions in the country was very essential, as they would help to end challenges of project management and implementation.
“We want the World Bank to increase its human capacity presence in the country, lessons learnt from previous interventions showed that the country achieved an unsatisfactory report.
“There is need for a task team leader who will be resident in Nigeria to oversee activities and monitor project implementation,” Babalobi said.
Babalobi expressed the need for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and the seven states to take ownership of the project and ensure that programme implementation guidelines were strictly followed.
cess to potable water and sanitation.
“The consequences would have been much if World Bank and other development partners’ interventions were not involved, so we are focusing on capacity building and institutional strengthening this time around,” Ajisegiri said.
He said it had been observed that many states had not shown enough commitment to project implementation, saying SURWASH implementation was based on the tenets of project for result.
“We have seen subsequent interventions with no serious political commitment, like the states bringing people directly to do the job without going through procurement.
“Now, states have set up their own Project Implementation Unit, they must now take the ‘driver’s seat’ and build their capacity for implementation,” Ajisegiri said.
According to a ministry official, Mr Abdulhamid Gwaram, the SURWASH programme rests on the theme of ‘Not leaving Anyone Behind’, saying benefiting states’ eligibility is based on readiness criteria.
Gwaram noted that states would go through the international development funds and bank financing, saying no specific allocation would be done until states had shown commitment through investment.
“States must show readiness and timelines to implement programme, expected results, sustainability plans; they must show political commitment too.
“The seven states were selected through a readiness criteria and a transparent process. Out of the $700 million, $640 million will be used for financing projects while $60 million will be used for technical assistance.
“It is performance-driven and there is no reward for non-performing states, they can be replaced if they fail to perform,” he said.
Gwaram added that it was the desire of the ministry to see that public utilities worked for sustainable economic recovery and also respond to COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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