Why Water Law Is Not Implemented In Akwa Ibom State 

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo 

Over a year since the former Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel had signed the Akwa Ibom State Water Bill into Law, its implementation is yet to commence in the state, even as the 2025 deadline of ensuring Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Nigeria is few months away.

Recall the former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari had in 2019, signed into law Executive Order 009, mandating all sectors in Nigeria to be open defecation free by 2025.

Following the order, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored Civil Society Organization under the aegis of African Human Development Center (AHDC) in conjunction with relevant ministries and agencies in Akwa Ibom had developed Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Policies, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework and Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap.

The AHDC, which has Prof Gabriel Umoh as the Chief Executive Officer with support from USAID since carried out advocacy programs urging the state government to domesticate the Executive Order 009.

Finding revealed that during the State Executive Council (Exco) meeting held on May 3, 2023 presided by the then Governor Udom Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources presented a Memo for Akwa Ibom State Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), M&E framework and ODF roadmap for discussion and approval by the Exco but it was referred for further discussion.

Expectedly, the current Commissioner for Water Resources and Sanitation, Mrs Enobong Mbobo was to present the memo again at Exco meeting but over nine months gone into the administration, the documents have not been presented for discussion and approval by the Exco.

This development is inspite of repeated to the Commissioner to give the documents the necessary concern as

the implementation of Water Law, approval of a Policy framework, and achieving an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap would be highly significant for the sustainable development of Akwa Ibom State.

Efforts to seek the Commissioner’s comment on the matter have not been possible as she neither grant appointment nor response to calls to her phone.

According to Umoh, in a recent release he made available to New Nigerian in Uyo, stated that the approval of the WASH policy Framework would lead to sustainable development, improved quality of life, and a healthier environment for the residents of Akwa Ibom State.

He called on the state Governor, Pastor Pastor Umo Eno to take action on their 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, sanitation and 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.

“We urged 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.

“Recall that the immediate past state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel had signed 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.

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