Water, sanitation, hygiene: NHRC calls for action on COVID-19

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday called for the prioritisation of water, sanitation and hygiene in the response to COVID-19.Lockdown: NHRC receives 104 complaints of alleged human rights ...

The Executive Secretary of NHRC , Mr Tony Ojukwu, made the call in Abuja during a stakeholders webinar meeting on access to clean water and sanitation.

Ojukwu called on all actors, including governments to commit to measurable action at the community level to increase access to clean water.

” No responsible government can afford to play politics with such essential commodity.

“Our engagement today is to start the process of continuous creation of awareness about the citizen’s right to clean water and sanitation.

“We are all aware there is a nexus between clean water and sanitation. The lack of clean water and sanitation impacts on the wellness and wellbeing of citizens, he said.

He  stated that the stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at strengthening and reinforcing the right to clean water and sanitation in Nigeria, through collaboration with the Commission.

“This situation needs to be urgently addressed especially in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic which necessitates good practices relating to the use of clean water, sanitation and general hygiene.

Also speaking, the Head, monitoring department of the NHRC, Mr Benedict Agu reiterated the need to continue to  involve “Community Gate Keepers”.

This he said are the traditional rulers, religious leaders, CSOs, LGAs), concerned MDAs and International Development Partners.

” This will help to create awareness for improved  (WASH) policies, guidelines and strategies in order to mainstream human rights norms and tenets into Nigeria’s water resource and sanitation management” he said.

Speaking on the theme “Unsafe water , sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria’s public spaces: its effects on the COVID 19  pandemic on human rights, Mrs Oluwayemisi Akhile , Assistant director, legal in the commission tasked governments at all level to provide access to clean water.

“Theprimary responsibility of the Federal, State and Local governments in times like this is to ensure safe water, basic sanitation, and waste management disposal in communities, healthcare facilities and quarantine centres.

“There is the need to ensure that water utilities have the required financial and safe operational conditions to continue to deliver services in Public Spaces thereby promoting and protecting the rights of its citizens.

” Any action short of this, goes contrary to the core human rights principle of non-discrimination.

” This will in turn expose a certain section of the population to health risk and probably death based on their economic status or because of the community they reside in” she said.

Also speaking, Dr Bala  Yunusa from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said that the Nigerian government has shown commitment towards provision of safe water and sanitation.

” The Nigerian government has demonstrated strong commitment towards the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDG.

” Institutional frameworks have been established at the national and sub-national levels to support effective implementation of the SDGs.

” The SDGs, cannot be achieved with stand-alone programmes and project rather, must be carefully integrated into national and sub-national policies and development plans” he stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was organised by NHRC and other stakeholders (NAN )

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