Coalition of CSOs urges Enugu governorship candidate to prioritise WASH services



By Flowerbudnews

Enugu:    Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) Enugu State, has urged all governorship candidates for elections to prioritise Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.

“The coalition called for the candidates to share their blueprint for improving WASH services in Enugu State,” State Coordinator of NEWSAN, Ogechukwu Enwelum, said in a press conference held on resuscitation of public water supply in Enugu State.

Enwelum said that the coalition would embark on aggressive advocacy to the residents to demand full resuscitation of public water supply from political party candidates vying for the general elections.

According to her, NEWSAN Enugu State in partnership with South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) and WaterAid Nigeria, is calling the attention of relevant stakeholders and governorship candidates to the dire WASH services challenges in the state.


“Research shows that over 2.37 million people lack access to potable drinking water in Enugu State; while there has been a price hike of over 100 per cent in the past year from water vendors.


“The government and international non-governmental organizations have played their part to see a lasting solution to this problem but all to no avail.

“In time past, over N600 million was awarded for the 9th Mile Water Scheme. Also, the French Development Agency donated $50 million to the state through the Enugu Water Corporation, but this has not yielded the desired outcome.


“The lack of access to adequate water supply increases open defecation in communities. This pollutes the environment, contaminates available water sources, and exposes the community to diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, and dysentery.


“Over 47 million Nigerians still practice open defecation and Enugu State is not exempted as about 47 per cent of the populace still practice open defecation.


“This is a pointer to the lack of proper toilet infrastructure and water facilities, especially in rural communities.

“If the goal to make Enugu State an Open Defecation Free state by 2025, in line with the state’s road map, is to be a reality, then this status quo must change,” she said.


Enwelum noted that there was a need for partnership between the incoming government and the outgoing; adding that “understanding how important the government’s role is in improving WASH services through policy, infrastructure, and partnerships remains imperative”.


Speaking, Mr Udochukwu Egwim, Head of Programme of SSDO, said that the coalition was supporting government efforts toward improving WASH services, adding “all we are doing is to ginger stakeholders, especially government, that have huge resources to act”.

Egwim said that before now, the coalition with the help of partners and donor agencies had been able to repair bole holes and mini-water schemes within rural villages and communities in the state.


“We want citizens to join and press on the government and other stakeholders especially political party candidates to ensure that WASH services and provision of potable drinking water is available for the people,” he said.


Contributing, Ijeoma Nnaji, Executive Director of Youth Child Support Initiative, said there was a need for citizens to hold the government accountable for resuscitating public taps once more in Enugu State.

“The present situation of WASH services is affecting many residents’ health and mostly the children who are more vulnerable to diseases like cholera, diarrhea and dysentery among others,” Nnaji said.


The conference, which was titled: “Enugu Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Challenge: The Way Forward”, was organised by WaterAid Nigeria in partnership with SSDO and NEWSAN.(Flowerbudnews)