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Nigeria Needs N6trn To Meet Demands On Water Infrastructure -FG

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The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has said that Nigeria needs not less than N6trillion to meet the demands for water supply infrastructure in the country.
Adamu said this at the 28th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Water Resources in Abuja, yesterday.
This is as organised labour, civil society organisations (CSOs), and Public Service International (PSI), yesterday, rejected federal and state governments’ planned privatisation of potable water supply in the country.
The minster, who noted that major challenges facing the sustainable development of the water sector were funding, poor water governance, obsolete infrastructure, amongst others, said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss developments in the water sector, evaluate issues, address identified challenges and chart a way forward towards resolving contemporary challenges.
Speaking on the theme, “Emerging Financial and Management Challenges for Sustainable Water Infrastructure in Nigeria”, Adamu said a review of water governance, sustainable financing, pricing for water services was being considered.
He said resolutions from the last council meeting saw the need for states to key into the current Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) initiative of the Federal Government.
This, he noted, is being piloted in some states in a performance approach through the provision of separate budget line in the state rural agency of water supply and sanitation agencies.
He added that the World Bank had committed $700million to support Nigeria in its National WASH Action plan towards revitilisation of the sector through the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply and sanitation Hygiene (SURWASH) programme.
“SURWASH is expected to provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services.
“The programme will deliver improved WASH services to 2,000 schools and healthcare facilities and assist communities to achieve open defecation-free status’’.
Earlier, UNICEF WASH Manager, Mr Oumar Dombouya, said the 2019 National Outcome Routine Mapping of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Service Levels (WASH-NORM), showed that 30per cent of the people in Nigeria (60million people) do not have access to clean water.
He noted that UNICEF had been giving its support to change this narrative through Village Level Operation and Maintenance to improve functionality and sustainability of water facilities across the country.
Dombouya pledged the commitment of the UN body to support durable and cost effective interventions towards making the country meet its SDG target by 2030.
The National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, Dr Edwin Isotu-Edeh, representing the WHO Nigeria Country Representative, said it was worrisome that one in three persons still lack access to basic drinking water globally.
He said there was need to democratise access to WASH services in the county, saying states must emulate what was being done in the federal level to ensure sustainability.
“States can emulate what was being done by the Federal Government, ad all stakeholders ought to put water as a key component of all interventions’’.
Mr Olusade Adesola, who represented the FCT Minister, Dr Mohammed Bello, said provision of clean and safe clean drinking water to FCT residents was top priority of the Federal Government through the FCT Administration.
He listed challenges of population explosion, inadequate funding, amongst others, saying implementable policies were underway to address this need.
“The water sector is faced with old and emerging challenges that has prevented us from emerging our target in this sector, providing infrastructure for regular water supply is very capital intensive.
“While the projected population of the FCT by year 2020 ought to be three million, the actual population as at 2018 and 2019 had risen to six million, this has placed enormous demand and pressure on significant resources to meet the infrastructural need.
“That is why you see new territories, layouts, districts are being opened without the corresponding provision of infrastructural facilities’’.
Adesola said the work was ongoing to complete the greater Abuja Water Supply Project, saying it was a bilateral initiative to enhance water supply to 33 districts in the FCT.
He added that the administration was also carrying out activities to improve access to potable water supply for the FCT residents in partnership with the organised private sector.
However, organised labour, civil society organisations (CSOs), and Public Service International (PSI), yesterday, have rejected federal and state governments’ planned privatisation of potable water supply in the country.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and PSI, an umbrella body for public service sector unions across the globe rallied Nigerians to oppose the National Water Bill (NWB), claiming that the bill “is anti-people and will make portable inaccessible to most Nigerians.”
At a joint news briefing, they advised Nigerians to take a cue from the privatisation of electricity supply eight years ago but had failed to improve power supply while consumers had been over-burdened with crazy bills for darkness.
Speaking, General Secretary of AUPCTRE, Sikiru Waheed, said the best option was Public, Public Participation (PPP), insisting that “access to safe and adequate water is crucial to the quality of life of the citizenry. Privatisation will price water above the reach of the poor.
“Privatisation will lead to job losses to privatisers who are only interested in maximising profits. Cities that privatised water are now reversing their decisions and reversing the exercise. From Buenos Aires to Manila, Paris and across the globe the story is the same. This is exactly the reason we do not want Nigeria to take that path.”
Waheed lamented that “we have equally observed that some states are still bent on privatising their water resources. Of particular concern is the report we are getting from Lagos, Ekiti, Plateau, Bayelsa and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. We implore governments in Nigeria to develop the political will and swing into action in order to improve water infrastructure for regular water supply to the citizens.
“Also, privatisation should not be seen as the only option for reviving water facilities across the country. Policies makers are, therefore, advised to embrace democratic control of water that is environmentally sustainable and provide decent work as the true representatives of the people.”
Earlier, President of NUEE, Engr. Martine Uzoegwu, among others, contended that the government mantra was that the private sector would provide infrastructure and utilities more effectively and attract investment, declaring that the privatisation of the electricity would address “Grid energy insufficiency and instability, network infrastructure challenges (overloaded transformers and feeders, obsolete equipment, limited network, lack of automation, etc), gas limitation to the generation companies, annual water shortages at the hydro-generation station.
“The government also said privatisation would address metering challenges (huge metering gap of over 6,000,000, estimated billing, poor meter maintenance, etc), operational challenges (long feeders, quality of the workforce, large operational areas, etc), funding challenges (absence of long term ‘patient’ capital (equity/debt) to fund investment, high cost of borrowing, poor history of DisCos, etc), Lack of investment/upgrade of equipment and facilities, lack of diversification to other forms of energy, health, safety, and environmental issues.”
He lamented that eight years after, “Tariffs have been increased three times now and the fourth is imminent. This continues to put additional burdens on Nigerians who do not actually enjoy adequate power supply. The only beneficiaries of this regime are generator importers who continue to have a field day.”
Representative of PSI, Abi Badru, said: “all over the world the issue of access to potable water is a fundamental right that has the backing of PSI and the global group will continue to support Nigerian public sector workers to ensure access to potable water is not priced out of the reach of the common man.”
Similarly, speaking on behalf of the CSOs, representative of CAPPA, Philips Japu, urged Nigerians to join forces to stop both the federal and state governments from privatising water supply, warning that “NWB, is anti-people, anti-poor and will worsen the poverty level across the country. Even the borehole in your houses will be taxed by the government once the National Water Bill sailed through.”

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Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.

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RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively

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The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.

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PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers

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Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.

By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu

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