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A’Ibom: CSOs kick over non approval of WASH framework, ODF Roadmap

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By Ogenyi Ogenyi,Uyo

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored Civil Society Organizations under the aegis of African Human Development Center (AHDC) has expressed dismay over the delay in the approval of the Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Policies framework, implementation of Water Law and Open Defecation Free Roadmap by Akwa Ibom government.

A Release signed by the CEO African Human Development Center, Prof. Gabriel Umoh yesterday and made available to newsmen in Uyo yesterday said the approval of the framework and roadmap has become long overdue after several assurances by the state government in the last two years.

The release said such approval would be highly significant for the sustainable development of the state as it would enhance improved quality of life and a healthier environment for residents of the state.

It urged Governor Umo Eno and relevant government authorities to take action on the advocacy by domesticating the Executive Order 009 of the Federal Government which mandated all sectors in the country to be open defecation free by 2025.

” We are here to support the Akwa Ibom state government to reform WASH sector. Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) has numerous impacts on all facets of life including health, Education, Agriculture etc. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided the content for us to work to reform the WASH sector in the state.

“So we started the practical implementation of the project in February 2002, our objective is to create awareness about the Water and sanitation hygiene situation of Akwa Ibom state, push for development and approval of WASH policy M&E framework by state executive council, and also get the council to approve the ODF Roadmap because we can’t continue to work without accessing our selves to know if we are doing well on the nature of our intervention.

“Recall that the former President of Nigeria His Excellency Mohammadu Buhari had in 2019 signed into law Executive Order 009, mandating all sectors in Nigeria to be open defecation free by 2025, so one of our objective is to ensure that Akwa Ibom is open defecation free Roadmap by 2025 which is a nine months timeline from now.

“We urge the Ministry of Water Resources and other ministries related to the WASH activities and MDAs like Akwa Ibom Water Company Ltd, AKRUWATSAN, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Education etc to join hands to ensure we achieve this goals.” It said.

It regretted that the passage of the water bill into law by former Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2022 would be a waste if supporting documents like the roadmap and framework are not legalized.

“Recall that the immediate past state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel had passed the water bill into Law on 30th December 2022, so all we are seeking is Implementation of the law to be approved by the state council.

“Akwa Ibom State WASH Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, the State ODF Roadmap are necessary supporting documents to give effect to the Implementation of the Water Law.

“And the approval of these important documents is crucial and we want to use this opportunity to call on the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council, to give approval to these documents without further delay.

“We hope that the State Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation will give sufficient push to get the State Executive to approve the documents.” The Project Director explained.

In addition, it was gathered that the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Sanitation Mrs Enobong Mbobo is yet to live up to expectation in advocating for the approval of the documents as she is said not to have represented the WASH Policy to the Exco for approval.

It would be recalled that the WASH Policy, M&E Framework and Open Defecation-free Roadmap were presented to the Exco in their penultimate meeting by the Commissioner of the erstwhile Ministry of Land and Water Resources, Capt Iniobong Ekong,(Rtd)

It was further gathered that the documents were to be represented for consideration during subsequent meetings but unfortunately the Commissioner has not represented the documents in spite of all encouragements and push from stakeholders.

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