*Tasks Governor on assent before New Year
Leading Non-Governmental Organisation on social accountability in Africa, Connected Development (CODE), has commended the Taraba State House of Assembly for passing the State Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Bill before the stipulated deadline.
Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, responding to the news, stated that the Taraba House of Assembly has proved itself as the people’s parliament by rebuilding residents’ trust in government institutions to deliver improved public service delivery.
Recall CODE, had met with the Taraba policy makers in November, urging that they erase bottlenecks and accelerate the second reading and other processes of the WASH bill, so that the residents of Taraba can have access to adequate safe water and basic sanitation; provided at an affordable cost in a sustainable manner in order to promote their health, dignity, economic well-being and improved livelihood. The legislators had vowed to present the bill to the governor before the new year, a promise kept.
Now that the bill has been passed, CODE, with the support of the USAID Effective Water Sanitation and Hygiene Services Program (E-WASH), is calling on Governor Darius Ishaka, who once won Water Man of the year, not to delay in ascending to the bill. The WASH Law positions Taraba State on the path to harnessing investments that will meet the WASH needs of the people.
According to CODE, there are thorny issues that the Law will address such as tackling the poor coordination in the implementation of projects, weak institutional capacity, and undefined or overlapping roles for various WASH agencies and stakeholders. It will also ensure the adoption of best practices on sanitation that meets the needs of Taraba residents.
CODE’s Lead on the USAID-EWASH project, Ijeoma Oforka, commended the State Community-Based Organisations, State Media Organizations, the WASH Customer Forums and other WASH groups in Taraba State for pressuring the government and holding them accountable for its promise to the people. This this bill passage shows the power of a collective voice to accelerate social change, she added.
Although, the Taraba WASH bill is yet to be ascended, the State has been making intentional efforts to provide residents with potable water and address sanitation issues. CODE urges Delta and Niger to tow this path to minimise the effect of WASH issues on public health. Delta and Niger States must fast-track actions on implementing policies that will ensure the consistent provision of clean and safe water and improve sanitation facilities for its residents, Oforka added.
CODE had initially begun a countdown on social media to the ascension of the bill, now it plans to countdown to Governor Darius’ assent. According to it, the long-term impact of a structured WASH system is the eradication of open defecation, the provision of WASH facilities in schools and strategic public spaces, the reduction of water-borne diseases, among other remarkable impacts.