How can climate change affect wildlife conservation?
By Jérôme-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Like any new invention that comes with opportunities and challenges, when the people of Alapere/Ketu, Lagos learned of the decision of the state government to rebuild/expand the Demurin/Agidi road, a major road within from the community, this elicited two sets of reactions. .
For some, joy flashed on their faces despite the realization that the execution of such a project by the state will lead to the destruction of properties worth hundreds of billions of naira and put an end to the stable livelihoods of residents and people. business owners. This group was particularly pleased because such a development, when completed, will reduce travel time and save hours of labor that would otherwise have been lost to traffic on the road; provide a better riding surface, resulting in lower maintenance costs; boost interconnectivity and generally make life more meaningful for commuters in the region and the state as a whole.
Otherwise, the development was viewed with skepticism and fear. The core of their fears rested on twofold reasons. First, there are the arguments that an average Nigerian government is notorious for abandoning projects and exacerbated by the lackadaisical/nonchalant attitude of regulators/supervisors and their failure to go the extra mile to ensure that the given missions are perfectly executed.
The second relates to the state’s continued failure to recognize that sustainable development and the related notion of sustainability are becoming increasingly important policy objectives for government at different levels, and the growing need to strengthen conceptual understanding of different notions of sustainability and their implications or designing effective policies aimed at achieving sustainability goals and, more importantly, analyzing the implications of proposed policies.
Currently, looking at the range of complaints and other instincts coming from Ketu, the people of Lagos, the fears previously raised can no longer be described as unfounded.
Apart from the fact that the road project which is expected to be completed within 12 months has unfolded to the disappointment of the residents, has dragged on for almost 3 years, with the company doing nothing that can be called substantial for reasons that analysts believe are not unrelated to the lack of funding on the Lagos State government side, residents are particularly unhappy with the current state of affairs.
The road, they argued, is not only worse but in deplorable condition after months of abandonment by the contractor and after they (the contractor/state government) destroyed people’s homes under the pretext of a widening of the road.
Tragically unique is the fact that the length and width of the road is now riddled with open/unfinished drainage channels, potholes and undulations – not thanks to the unfortunate activities of the now ‘deceased’ construction company.
Calling the situation not just a crisis but a worrying reality is the fact that the current state of the road daily leads to; traffic jams, fatal accidents among various road users and, in some cases, miscarriages among pregnant women.
In fact, for those who have so far praised the initiative, that praise has faded and the jeers have since taken over the cheers as hatred for the initiative and fears over the fate of the residents loom.
In fact, each passing day is a reminder that the state is facing serious administrative emergencies, which demand immediate action.
Among so many other examples, the inability of the Lagos State government to address the protracted water scarcity in the state starkly confirms the above assertion.
Very sadly, it is by no means a good comment that Lagos State, which prides itself on being a megalopolis, has unfortunately continued to wear the toga of a place where access to formal drinking water is extremely small, with the majority of its inhabitants depending on the informal sector consisting of wells, boreholes, rivers and rainwater.
From Ketu to Ikorodu, from Ogba Ikeja to Ajah, from Surulere to Alimosho, the story is the same. Lagosians are made to celebrate this year’s World Water Day without water.
Regardless of whether this dangerous oversight is bound to render senseless the current effort to improve the life chances of Lagosians, if not given the urgency of the attention it deserves, there is why this development is troubling.
According to the United Nations (UN) statement, there is enough water to meet the needs covered by the right to water in virtually every country in the world – it is much more a question of equitable distribution. On average, overall household water use accounts for less than 10% of total water use, while industry and agriculture are the largest users of water. The right to water is limited to basic personal and domestic needs, which represent only a fraction of overall domestic use. Even in the context of climate change, which affects global water availability, water for personal and domestic uses can still be secured, if prioritized as required by human rights law.
Apart from the realization that every inhabitant of Lagos needs 20 liters per capita per day as the minimum quantity required to achieve the minimum essential levels of the right, making the situation a worrying reality is that the water scarcity that started one morning suddenly spread into months. And exposed the inhabitants to the daily search for water in sources whose level of hygiene could neither be verified nor guaranteed. This is not the only apprehension. The situation is aggravated by the realization that the inhabitants of the area with private boreholes which would have helped to alleviate this suffering are daily frustrated by the poor supply of electricity to the area necessary for the operation of the borehole. No thanks to the electricity company operating on site.
Certainly, Lagosians know that the government cannot solve all their problems and they do not want it. But they (Lagosians) know there are things they cannot do alone but must need government support. A very good example of these responsibilities includes, but is not limited to, providing citizens with clean water, electricity, and providing schools in a functioning environment.
One fact, according to global demand that should not be overlooked, is that it is true that investing in water and sanitation is expensive. Yet evidence has shown that the cost of not ensuring access to clean water and sanitation is even greater in terms of public health and lost work and school days.
For every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is on average a return of 8 dollars in avoided costs and increased productivity. In addition, human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation are subject to progressive realization. Thus, universal coverage does not need to be achieved immediately, but each State must demonstrate that it is taking steps to achieve this goal to the maximum of its available resources and that it is continuously progressing in this direction.
Now let’s take a look at the consequences of these failures
First, apart from the fact that Lagos State with its megacity status should have outgrown a city where people in this 21st century will depend on private water vendors for their daily water needs, while that those who do not have the resources to hire these vendors are forced to the derogatory level to draw water from the gutters. And, as we know, contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and poliomyelitis. Absent, inadequate or poorly managed water and sanitation services expose people to avoidable health risks.
Away from health considerations for other consequences that have an international/global perspective.
According to Resolution A/RES/64/292, United Nations General Assembly, July 2010 and General Comment No. 15, United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, November 2002, the human right to water and sanitation is a principle that recognizes that clean water and sanitation are essential to the life of every person. It was recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly on July 28, 2010.
To add additional context, the resolution calls on states and international organizations to provide financial resources to assist in capacity building and technology transfer to help countries, especially developing countries, provide safe drinking water. and sanitation that are safe, clean, accessible and affordable for all. . Again, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted the General Comment; Article I.1 states that “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights”. Commentary No. 15 also defined the right to water as the right of everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for their personal and domestic uses.
As to sufficiency, each person’s water supply must be sufficient and continuous for personal and domestic uses. These uses generally include drinking, personal hygiene, washing clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 liters of water per person per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health problems occur. In terms of safety, the water needed for each personal or domestic use must be safe, therefore free of micro-organisms, chemical substances and radiological risks that pose a threat to a person’s health.
Speaking of acceptability, the water should be of an acceptable color, odor and taste for each personal or household use. All water facilities and services should be culturally appropriate and sensitive to gender, life cycle and confidentiality requirements. Everyone has the right to a physically accessible water and sanitation service within or in the immediate vicinity of the household, educational institution, workplace or health facility.
Utomi is Program Coordinator (Media and Policy), Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice (SEJA), Lagos. He can be contacted via [email protected]/08032725374