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Published On: Thu, Jun 12th, 2014

FG should emphasize access to safe water as a human right, Confab agrees

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Confab Chairman KutigiBy Hassan Haruna Ginsau

In a win for clean water campaigners, delegates to the on-going National conference have adopted a recommendation put forward by its committee on Agriculture and water resources which calls on the Federal Government (FG) to emphasize the access to safe and adequate water as a fundamental human right.

If implemented by the FG, the recommendation would require it to better ensure the provision of potable water to the 47% of Nigerians who currently don’t have access to it.

Delegates approved the recommendation during yesterday’s morning session whereby delegates considered amendments to the committee on agriculture and water resource’s report which was presented to delegates on Monday by the committee’s chairman, Alhaji Umaru Hadejia.

The conference however rejected the creation of a National water commission, opting to stick with the current Ministry of water resources.

In addition, the confab also adopted that the FG should encourage a system of production of healthy foods, going further to agree that the FG should promote food sovereignty in order to attain food security and support local and regional trade.

Furthermore, coming to the protection of land owners, delegates adopted the recommendation which called on the government to guard against land grabbing, stating that irrespective of the purposes, land owners whether individuals or communities must not be dispossessed without due consultation and adequate compensation.

Delegates also agreed that funding should be dedicated to bio technology research, especially those that do not involve cross species genetic manipulation. Furthermore, delegates agreed that the FG involve farmers and rural dwellers in the design and implementation of policies, in part to solve soil degradation.

The conference called on the FG to divest from the implementation of activities in the field, which when put it context include all forms of extension work.

However, the committee rejected a number of proposals put forward, including; that the Bank of industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA) should give 5% interest loans and long term payments; that the FG should provide clear cultivatable land in all parts of the country for willing farmers especially in the rural areas; and that the National Assembly should fast track the passage of a warehouse bill before it.

Delegates also rejected that practical agriculture be made compulsory from the primary to the university level. They also rejected a recommendation proposing that state governments “pay for every single drop of water extracted from dams, agreeing however for the FG to revitalise already constructed multipurpose dams to ensure full utilisation of hydro-electric power, also calling for a diligent study of dams to determine their state and take immediate action where required.

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