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Udom urged to sign water bill to address open defecation menace in A/Ibom

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has been urged to sign the water and sanitation bill to address the menace of open defecation in the state.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of African Centre for Human Development (AHDC), Gabriel Umoh made the call during a one-day Water Health and Sanitation (WASH) forum organised by the African Centre for Human Development (AHDC) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uyo, the state.

He blamed the menace on poor funding of the water sector and implementation of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy by government and other stakeholders.

He pointed out that “only a paltry 1.31 percent of budgetary allocation goes to the water sector”, which he said requires between five to seven percent to tackle problems in the sector adequately.

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Urging Governor Udom Emmanuel to reposition the sector in order to address WASH challenges effectively, Umoh recalled that the House of Assembly had since July this year concluded work on the Water Bill and transmitted to the governor for assent, but regretted that “it is still yet to be signed into law.”

According to Assumpta Usoro, head of Department (HoD) in – charge of Water Resources Directorate, Ministry of Land and Water Resources, only Nsit Atai, one out of the 31 Local Government Areas in the state has been certified by the survey and given clean bill of health of open defecation free status.

She, therefore, stressed the need for a holistic action by stakeholders with effective sensitisation, education and enlightenment programmes to stem the menace.