By Dorcas Samson Achi
The Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation ( CFCF) in collaboration with Center For Peace Across Borders (CEPAB) with support from End Water Poverty on Wednesday 9th November, 2022 organized a One Day Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Media Workshop with the theme ” Claim Your Water Rights Naija” at the NUJ Secretariat Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.
The Executive Director, Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Evang Albert Ezeigwe in his welcome address stated that the group is implementing a citizens engagement campaign in Nigeria that is aimed at mobilizing citizens to demand for the change they desire with their votes.
He stated that the campaign is focused on advocacy for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to various levels of stakeholders in Nigeria during the forthcoming general elections.
Alana Potter, the International Coordinator for End Water Poverty, South Africa enlightened the audience on how to claim their Water Rights and advocate for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) during elections, stressing that water is a top political issue which demands electoral candidates to discuss and educate the populace on their plans about providing safe and clean water.
The Campaign Manager, Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation, Mr Clinton Ezeigwe emphasized on the importance of advocating for WASH in different communities.
According to him, the issue of Water Rights has not received the needed media attention, hence the need to engage the media practitioners to sentisize and enlighten the public on Water Right by writing Water Right stories regularly in their reports.
He cited the 2019 Imo Water Law signed by Governor Emeka Ihedioha which has received no implementation ever since.
Dr. Johnson Ndubuisi, Director of Research Centre for Peace Across Borders (CEPAB) in his speech revealed that the purpose of convening the program is for mass enlightenment on water Right, treatment of water, environmental sanitation and hygiene.
” Without water you can’t talk of sanitation. There is a close relationship between water, health, security, economy, agriculture and other important things.
Politicians talk about road construction, education, power, health, food security, economic stability but forget to talk about a very relevant thing which is water. Water must be prioritized because without water roads will not be constructed, agricultural sector will die and other sectors will distabilize.
Developed countries recycle water for human consumption, industrial usage, home usage and agricultural purposes.
The issue of water must be put at the frontburner in this election period. Debates have to be organized for the political candidates to discuss the importance of water and their plans for our Water Rights. Many rural areas lack good water. Many people travel to distant places to fetch water. Water is capital intensive, hence requires political Will” he inferred.
Mr. Michael Ikenna Anumnu, NEWSMAN State Coordinator for Imo highlighted the roles of CSOs in promoting the prioritisation of WASH as an important agenda in the forthcoming election and beyond. He charged the media and civil society organizations to take up the responsibility of preaching about Water Rights and exposing the hazards of water and environmental pollution.
Prior to this Workshop, CFCF and CEPAB carried out Town Hall Meetings in different LGAs that were geared towards educating and empowering the citizens to use the ballot to demand for their Rights to Water and Sanitation. The group has done a lot of sensitization tours in different places in promoting