By Jide Afolabi, Jos
The Society for Water and Sanitation, Plateau State has launched ‘Keep Your Promise’ Campaign in the state.
The campaign is a citizen engagement towards access to clean water and basic sanitation in the state.
In his welcome speech, the Coordinator of NEWSAN in Plateau State, Mr Fintsir Lomak said that the campaign is a part of the European Union-funded and WaterAid Nigeria supported EU-WSSSRP III Project in the state.
He thanked the government for paying the counterpart funds and appealed for vehicle to ease the group’s mobility.
He noted that the project which has three components are being implemented in three Local Government Areas of Plateau State including Riyom, Shendam and Kanam.
The EU-WSSSRP III Team Lead, Mr. Rotimi called on the people of the state to reciprocate the gesture of the governor in the area of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation by maintaining the facilities in their communities and desist from open defecation.
He stressed that Water Consumer Association has been established in 16 Local Government Areas with 116 hygiene promoter volunteers recruited to campaign against open defecation in the state.
He thanked the governor for releasing 100 million he promised for more WASH projects during the visit of the EU Ambassador in July.
On her part, the representative of WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Ms Idowu Adebayo informed the gathering that 2.3 million people have no access to water and 2.8 million people have no access to toilet facilities in the state.
She said that 29 aspirants signed the campaign pledge, “Vote for WASH” electoral advocacy. She called on the media and the civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in the state to lead the campaign for WASH.
In his goodwill message, the Gbong Gwom of Jos, HRM Jacob Buba who was represented by the Emir of Kanam, HRH Muazu Muhammadu said that the traditional council in the state will continue to partner with the government and agencies to make life better for the people saying that the people are their only constituency.
He urged the government to leave no stone unturned to provide clean water, and sanitation and hygiene facilities for the people. He advised the ministry of water and environment to work together saying that a clean environment and clean water go together.
The Keynote Speaker at the event was the governor of the state, Rt Hon Simon Bako Lalong and was represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, Hon Sa’ad Bello. He appreciated EU and WaterAid for the support.
Lalong said, “I must express my appreciation and commend the European Union EU PFOJEC’C in Plateau State. This project has two key components, one of which is the rural component being implemented by UNICEF in Riyom, Shendam and Kanam LGAs, while the second component is the ‘Urban Small Towns’ in Riyom and Shendam. Under the ‘urban and small towns’ component, the intervention focuses reforms in the three areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
“The Plateau State government in collaboration with the EU Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Program (EU WSSSRP III) and the Civil Society Organizations in the last four years have achieved success in the provision of Water and Sanitation Policy, including the Water Sector Law that will soon be gazetted.
“Our Administration has paid its counterpart funding to the European Union intervention to the tune of over Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000:00). As we speak now the installation of facilities in the small towns of Riyom and Shendam LGAs is ongoing and will very soon be commissioned for use. The third area which is a sub-set of the urban component is called ‘technical assistance’ to Civil Society Organizations and is being implemented by WaterAid Nigeria and Society for Water and Sanitation Plateau State NEWSAN.
“Under the EU-Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organizations, Citizens were engaged to itemize their WASH issues in their communities and these issues were developed into statements to engage political party candidates In the 2019 general election, for which many candidates signed the document called ‘VOTE4WASH’ pledge cards. The ‘VOTE4WASH’ was citizen’s engagement with duty bearers to prioritize WASH in their constituencies and the state In general. The ‘KEEP YOUR PROMISES CAMPAlGN’ launch is an avenue for the State to market herself before donor organizations and as well make a concrete statement on their planned investment in the WASH sector as the state combats open defecation practices.”
He urged the elected officials to show enough commitment to prioritize WASH in the State through budgetary allocations, facilitating releases, motions and oversight functions.
“The State today is ranked No. 2 in Open Defecation Practice in Nigeria and we wish to state that we hope to attain ‘Open Defecation Free’ Status by the year 2023.To achieve that the government has swung into action by declaring a state of emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) following the Federal Government’s action on the same issue. And as a show of Commitment a Task Force was inaugurated. As it stands today, Plateau State needs about 27 Billion naira to combat open defecation, as well as provide access to basic sanitation to the people of the state. The state cannot do it alone without the support of development partners and therefore, we are calling on all the development partners to support the state to attain ‘Open Defecation Free’ Status by the year 2023.
“We are gathered here to remind ourselves of the promises made to our electorates of our determination and commitment to giving them meaningful life through provision of clean water and a decent environment where we will all live to be proud of through good governance. And this we don’t take lightly, we will do our best to achieve this.
The governor called on all Local Government Council Chairmen, traditional institutions, community leaders and religious leaders to key into WASH programmes so that citizens will be well informed on the dangers of open defecation.
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