Connected Development (CODE), has commended the Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaka,for assenting to 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 Government, including its House of Assembly, has proven itself as the people’s parliament by rebuilding residents’ trust in government institutions to deliver improved public services.
Recall that CODE, with the support of the USAID Effective Water Sanitation and Hygiene (E-WASH) Services Program, had engaged with the Taraba policy makers in November, urging that they erase bottlenecks and accelerate the processes for ensuring the WASH bill was signed to Law.
The legislators had vowed to present the bill to the Governor before the new year and see through to ensure it was assented, a promise kept.
Lawal added that assenting to the bill shows the readiness of the State to provide access to adequate safe water and basic sanitation that will promote the health, dignity, economic well-being and improved livelihood for residents.
“Now that the bill has been passed to law, we hope to see the commitment of relevant agencies such as the State Ministry of Water Resources, and the Taraba Water and Sewerage Corporation (TAWASCO), towards implementation.
“While we commend Governor Darius Ishaka, who once won Water Man of the year, for this great milestone, we urge that he expedites action on his promise of enhanced water rights for all residents. It is important for us to intensify civic advocacy and hold the State Government accountable in its responsibility to implement the State WASH policies as stated in the law,” he said.
The WASH Law positions Taraba State on the path to harnessing investments that will meet the WASH needs of the people. Although, there are thorny issues that the Law seeks to address, the adoption of best practices on potable water and sanitation that meets the needs of Taraba residents tops the list, CODE stated.
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 she said, shows the power of a collective voice to accelerate social change.
Before the WASH law, the State had been making intentional efforts to address sanitation issues, especially in urban areas.
CODE urged Delta and Niger states, where the civil society is also advocating for improved urban WASH services, 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 assent of the bill, now it plans to track the implementation of the WASH Law in Taraba.
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 effects.