The Senior Programme Officer, Global Health Awareness Research Foundation, Mrs Ebele Ofora,has called on citizens to demand their rights to water and sanitation from elected political officeholders.
Ofora told the newsmen that this became necessary following poor access to potable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in parts of the country.
She noted that the group was implementing the Sustainable Total Sanitation programme in partnership with WaterAid Nigeria to carry out community mobilisation and engagements for WASH.
According to her, part of the activities is the signing of pledge cards to show commitment, saying as elections have come and gone, follow-up on these commitment was ongoing.
“We are implementing a project sponsored by WaterAid Nigeria called Sustainable Total Sanitation, part of the activities we carried out is the community mobilisation and engagements, the Vote for WASH.
“The community members must understand that WASH is their right, it’s a human right issue.
“The vote for WASH campaign is a strategy to engage political Office holders, it’s not the period of I will give you salt and rice, they need to know that it’s their responsibility and are obligated to provide them.
‘’They include water and sanitation facilities in all public places such as markets, parks, religious places and hospitals.
“The strategy is meant to educate communities to demand for their rights with political office holders.’’
Ofora said that a survey carried out in Enugu in four pilot Local Government Areas, which was a fall out from the declaration of a national emergency by the president in the WASH sector.
She said that this revealed poor water and sanitation practice in the state.
“The refuse is being emptied in the river and you realised that at the other end of the rivers, inhabitants use the water for household purposes, drinking among others.’’
She said that due to advocacy and awareness campaign being carried out, there were reports that the sewage disposal had been banned with the tankers also being banned from disposing waste into the rivers.
Ofora said that it was important for laws and policies on safe disposal of waste and sewage to be available and implemented, and if not done, it would have a direct impact on the environment and populace.
She said that with the support from UN Children’s Fund Zone, a field office, implemented the Support for Community Engagement and Monitoring of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM/C) intervention among youths.
Ofora said that the programme, which started in January 2018, was aimed at increasing the level of knowledge of participants on the health risks and implications of female genital cutting in 10 communities in Afikpo North LGA, Ebonyi.
According to her, part of the objective was to carry out advocacy on the public to abandon the practice and for community leaders to take the lead and find an action plan and resolution for sustainability.
”Global Health Awareness Research Foundation carried out monitoring visits to the communities as part of its interventions in the FGM/C abandonment programme with the support of UNICEF.
‘’As a follow up to the community entry meetings and the outreaches conducted in the community.
”This is to solicit for the support of the community leaders and sensitise the various groups respectively.
“The monitoring visits were carried out to ensure that actions and steps are followed to facilitate FGM/C abandonment.”
On Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), she noted that it had organised and conducted sensitisation activities across the Girls Secondary Schools in Enugu Metropolis.
She said that the activities were aimed at raising awareness on the importance of good menstrual hygiene practices among young girls, educating students on basic facts on MHM and its importance to their wellbeing.
Edo Community Drags Abattoir Owner To Court Over Environmental Pollution
Ikpoba Slope Community in Ikpoba Okha Local Government area of Edo State has dragged Mrs Sarah Uwaifor, owner of an abattoir located at Ohen-Ore in the community to a Benin Chief Magistrate Court over alleged environmental pollution in the community.
In a suit number MOGB/56/2021, Mr Ken Omusi and Mr Kenneth Imafidon, on behalf of Ikpoba Youth Development Association and other inhabitants of the community claimed that the cow dungs and waste excreta from the defendant’s abattoir were dumped in the community as well as burning of cow hair and skin constitute nuisance in the area.
They alleged that the community had tried to persuade her to abate the nuisance but she did not listen to them.
The plaintiff is seeking a declaration of the court that allowing the burning of cow hair, roasting of cow head and dump of cow excreta and dungs in the community constitute health hazards to the inhabitants of the community.
They also prayed for perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, her servants, agents, or workers at the abattoir from dumping cow excreta, roasting cow head and dumping cow dung along the street of the community.
The community are also seeking N5 million general damages from the defendant for the nuisance she has been and still constituting in the area.
The defendant after listening to charges in court pleaded not guilty while the counsel of the plaintiff and defendant Chief Abayomi Thomas and E I. Otabor respectively asked the court to fix a date for hearing.
Chief Magistrate Prince Mutairu Oarhe, consequently, adjourned the case to January 11, 2022, for hearing.
Oyo Tribunal Fines 60 Persons For Allegedly Violating Environmental Laws
Oyo State Environmental Tribunal court has fined no fever than 60 persons over various sanitation infractions.
The Tide source reports that 60 people were fined for allegedly flouting the state’s environmental sanitation laws during sanitation on Saturday.
The Tide reports that the violators were fined at Bodija, Iwo-road, Beere, Sapati, Elewi-Odo, Ojoo, Gate, Oke-bola and other locations in Ibadan.
Magistrate, Mr. Raheem Wasiu in his judgment, said the offenders were caught dumping refuse in unauthorised areas and are guilty of violating the environmental sanitation and waste management laws.
He charged the violators a fine of between ¦ 5,000 and ¦ 25,000 for their offences.
Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Abiodun Oni, in his remarks, commended the Magistrate for his professionalism.
He added that the present administration in the state, will not leave any stone unturned towards regaining the environmental sanity in the state.
“No matter how we take care of our environment, it usually has an impact on every stakeholder’s health and as soon as we enforce the law, it goes a long way in making the state a healthy one.
“Oyo State is a pacesetter state, a state we should be proud of and strive in making it safe and healthy for all and sundry”.
Revive Forest Reserves, Expert Urges RSG
Worried over the depleting natural resources caused by land prospectors and poachers, Professor of Biodiversity in the Rivers State University, Geofrey Akaniwor has made an appeal to the state government to revive forest conservation.
Akaniwor in an interview with The Tide stated that over five forest reserves in the state are endangered as they have been abandoned over the years.
Among the forest reserves now endangered include Lower Orashi in Abua/Odual Local Government Area and parts of Kalabari; Upper Orashi in Abua/Odual, Sombreiro Reserve located in parts of Ikwerre and Ahoada Local Government Areas, Otamiri Reserve sited in Ikwerre and Etche Local Government Areas.
Others are Upper Imo River Reserve in Etche and Daen or Lower Imo River Reserve in Khana Local Government Area.
He also urged that the Andoni Forest Reserve which harbours the remaining forest elephants and hippos in the state should be given attention as well.
The university teacher said forest reserves help promote biodiversity and resource protection warning that endangered species play huge role in sustaining life and stability of the environment.
Besides, he was of the view that conservation can help provide jobs and tourism as government can employ rangers who will be trained to guard those forests from being encroached upon.
Meanwhile, Prof. Akaniwor has recommended that the Port Harcourt Zoological Garden(Zoo) be relocated to more expansive and serene location.
He said the site where the zoo is now has been overtaken by urbanisation and that safety of animals are not safe in such environment
Akaniwor suggested that the zoo can be relocated to either Oyibo Local Government Area by the fringes of Imo River or to Etche where there more expansive land for such facility.
By: Kevin Nengia & Excellent Omehoma
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