*task Assembly on quick passage of Water Bill
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have expressed worries over low level of hygiene and sanitary measures and blamed it largely on poor water distribution and management in Akwa Ibom State.
Addressing residents on Tuesday in Uyo during a sensitization tour as Akwa Ibom joined in marking the World Water Day, stakeholders in the sector, commended Governor Udom Emmanuel over his executive bill on water reforms in the state and stressed the need for improvement as “only one per cent is allocated to water”.
Speaking to newsmen, Prof. Gabriel Umoh, Executive Director, African Human Development Centre (AHDC), outlined challenges facing the sector and hoped the water bill sent to the House of Assembly by Governor Emmanuel, would cushion some problems for effective water engineering in the state.
He therefore, charged the lawmakers to expedite action towards passing the bill into law in order to guarantee proper management of water in the state.
He explained that the sensitization campaign entitled; “Groundwater: making the invisible visible”, aimed at drawing government and stakeholders in the sector to the implementation of water policy towards enhancing what he described as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the society.
The Commissioner of Women Affairs, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, lamented the sufferings experienced by women in the process of having access to clean water, saying such problem could be curbed with effective water policy that would guarantee water availability for all.
According to Adiakpan, who was represented by Mrs. Nkechi Udo, noted that women, including girls face challenges of rape, kidnap and other physical attacks in the process of going long distance in search of water.
Besides, she noted that girls are confronted with the big challenge of proper sanitation during their monthly flows in schools as well as open defecation that could lead to outbreak of epidemic in schools.
In the same vein, Mr. Umoh Ekwere, National Vice President, Borehole Drillers Association of Nigeria (BDAN) and Mr. Koko Udo, Society for Water Sanitation (SWS), stressed the need for effective reforms in the sector to enhance safety and proper water engineering and distribution in the state.