Leo Heller, UN human rights expert, has called for increased funding for water and sanitation in the 2017 budget of Lagos state.
Heller explained that this is to address the needs of 21 million residents of the state.
He said this after Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos, presented the budget to the state house of assembly.
Heller said while Nigeria’s largest city continues to grow, access to basic services seems to be dwindling.
He said the government reports showed high deficits in the sector, “representing clearly unacceptable conditions for millions of the megacity’s residents”.
He added that the annual budget discussion was a chance for the city to take more actions in providing water and sanitation to the people, and also expressed concerns over the high numbers of vulnerable people.
The special rapporteur also presented some alternative solutions to the problem for the state government to consider.
His suggestions include increasing the effectiveness of the public service provider, adopting necessary financing schemes, and reducing water losses.
“For more than a decade, the government has adopted a hard-line policy according to which the solution would seem to only attract private capital, notably via public-private partnerships (PPPs),” Heller said.
“Numerous civil society groups have urged the government to guarantee their right to participate in these processes.”
He added that the key to an adequate solution is a participatory process.
According to him, the water and sanitation situation continues to worsen as the population of Lagos increases.
He added that the resources had become scarce, with an estimated 10 per cent of the population having access to water supplied by the state water board.
Heller said residents have also been reported drilling their own boreholes, in hopes to get some water, causing various environmental and health issues, particularly contaminated water consumption.
The special rapporteur said his organisation reached out to the federal government earlier in the year, and is still waiting for it to provide an update on the water and sanitation issue.