Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has stated that his administration is committed to providing easy access to safe water and hygiene as they are fundamental for human survival and the rights of the citizens.
He said this while speaking on Wednesday through the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat at the 4th Lagos International Water Conference (LIWAC), themed: “Attaining Sanitation and Hygiene for All in Lagos State Megacity through Regulation and Innovation”, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island.
According to Sanwo-Olu, this is in line with his administration’s goal of improving access to clean water and sanitation in the State.
The Governor said, “The provision of easy access to safe water and hygiene is not just because it is expected of his government but because it is a fundamental human right and it falls within the welfare policy for the State”.
He hinged the state’s commitment to improving access to clean water and sanitation on four initiatives which include: the provision of public toilets and bathrooms in each Local Government Area, construction of community wastewater treatment plants, developing integrated waste management system, expanding and protecting water sources to improve the city’s water supply.
Speaking further, Sanwo-Olu emphasised that the megacity status of Lagos State and the pace at which the population is growing underscores the urgent need to promote and facilitate efficiency in the water sector as well as guarantee its financial viability and the urgent need for government to work meticulously in administering the resources and facilities needed by the huge population to be productive most especially in the area of sanitation.
The Governor further noted that in order to attain a desirable level of sanitation and hygiene in a mega city, the expected goal will only be achieved if the initiatives are supported by a regulatory framework that promotes efficiency through innovation driven by technology and a well-designed framework that encourages private sector participation and protects the interests of all stakeholders through regulations that set clear standards, defines roles and responsibilities.
He noted that since the inception of the LIWA Conference in 2020, his administration has sought to reposition water governance and regulatory dispensation in the state in a bid to improve water security and investment opportunities.
In her goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack noted that water, sanitation and hygiene are essential pillars for any community’s overall well-being and development and as long as Lagos continues to experience rapid growth and urbanisation, concerted efforts must be made to address the challenges posed by the increasing demand for clean water and proper sanitation infrastructure.
She said partnerships, collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders are vital in overcoming safe water, sanitation and hygiene challenges and that the Ministry is committed to supporting initiatives that promote sustainable water management, sanitation and hygiene in Lagos and beyond.
She said, “As we collectively strive for sustainable water management and improved sanitation practices, let us remember the importance of inclusivity. We must ensure that vulnerable populations, marginalised communities and underserved areas are not left behind.
“+By emphasising equality, accessibility and affordability, we can truly achieve the goal of leaving no one behind in our journey towards a healthier and more prosperous Lagos”.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LASWARCO), Mrs. Funke Adepoju stressed the importance of access to improved sanitation and hygiene as critical to health, with profound implications for economic growth, human rights, public health, and the environment. She added that they are key builders for the community’s overall well-being and development.
She noted that the conference is part of a conscious effort by the Commission to bring up the discussions to address the myriad of challenges confronting the water sector, suggest solutions to effective sanitation management, and attract investments into the sector with its diverse economic possibilities.
Mrs. Adepoju, therefore, commended the Sanwo-Olu Administration for its great strides and investments in actualizing the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the administration particularly on Health and Environment and its commitment to promoting a sustainable, developmental environment for the well-being of Lagosians.