As part of efforts to improve access to potable water and sanitation in the country, the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) has trained its members on budget tracking and holding tiers of government accountable for non-implementation.
This was disclosed by NEWSAN National Coordinator, Mr Benson Attah at a workshop held in Abuja.
Attah stressed the need for its members to contribute their quota in holding local, state and federal government accountable in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
Attah noted that building capacity of its members would strengthen partnerships in the implementation of water and sanitation projects across the country, just as he urged states CSOs to monitor governance and also find legal backing for WASH interventions and formulation of state road-maps for ending open defecation practices in their localities.
“We have come to realise that part of the factors contributing to the poor implementation of the water and sanitation programe is due poor accountability at both the federal, states and local government levels.
“We have seen instances where boreholes were dug and they had to use water tankers to fill the overhead tank for its commissioning.
“Some projects as soon as they were commissioned collapsed due to the use of inferior materials and such communities never benefited from such projects.
“We have seen cases where contractors were given money to build sanitation facilities, toilets in schools and they were not completed and left abandoned with open-suck away pits”.
He noted that these issues further contributed to the underdevelopment of the citizens, adding that water and sanitation were an entry point to development, health, education, commerce among others.
While commending its partners, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) for supporting its activities, Attah said lack of transparency at different levels, limits the extent to which partners can hold each other to account for mutual commitments.
He said there was the need for the three tier of governments to see that access to water and sanitation were improved upon, adding that stakeholders ought not to compromise in achieving better livelihood for the populace.
Earlier, Mr Emmanuel Awe, Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, noted that it was worrisome that only 11 per cent of the population had access to (WASH) services nationwide.
Awe said although the Federal Government had demonstrated high political will to improve access to WASH facilities through its numerous programmes, but more needs to be done in the states if Nigeria is ready to meet its targets.
Dr Elizabeth Jeiyol, National Coordinator, WSSCC Nigeria, said it was imperative that a sustainable system be instituted and supported by the government to encourage CSO engagement for effective WASH governance, saying without governance, WASH services remain unsustainable.
She said,“CSOs need platforms to build capacity and resources to carry out crucial role by holding policymakers accountable and ensuring that budgets are spent and policies are formulated within the right context and sustainability.’’
He called on governments to create enabling environment to support and engage CSOs in policy formulation through access to state structures for citizen participation and attainment of SDGs targets in Nigeria.
In her good will message, the national coordinator, Water Supply And Sanitation Collaborative Council, Elizabeth N. Jeiyol, at the workshop commended the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs) to be part of the training, which according to her, is in consonance with the objectives of the WSSCC to achieve sanitation and hygiene leaving no one behind.
She noted that interacting with the public and private sectors and strengthening capacity building for CSOs for rapid WASH policy assessment, advocacy, mutual accountability mechanism (MAM), and WASH governance is crucial in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to her, this will boost stakeholder engagement and participation in ensuring universal access to water and sanitation services.
Speaking on the essence of the workshop, she said it will help build technical capacity to analyze policy, track budgets, and engage with the government and donors through advocacy.