The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has demanded an inquiry into the high budgetary allocation to the water sector, following what the group describes as poor water infrastructure in the country.
Timothy Adewale , SERAP Deputy Director, in a statement on Sunday asked Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development, to defend the huge sums spent since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.
“Nigeria’s water and sanitation infrastructure have continued to deteriorate, and millions of Nigerians have to resort to drinking water from contaminated sources with deadly health consequences,” the statement read in part.
The organisation, therefore, wants the Federal Government to be accountable to Nigerians “despite the authorities claiming to have spent trillions of naira of budgetary allocations on the sector since the return of democracy in 1999.”
While lamenting the inaccessibility of water in most homes and public places, SERAP said is deeply concerned with the risk most citizens are subjected to by drinking contaminated water.
Adewale also threatened that his group would resort to taking a legal action should the Minister fail in heeding their demands.
Quoting Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, he explained further that SERAP is entitled to request for or gain access to information, including information on the details of the expenditure and budgetary spending of the Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development.
The statement read in part: “Should Engr. Adamu fail to provide the information within 14 days, SERAP would take all appropriate legal actions to compel the government to act on this matter.
“Also, by virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution, or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.
“The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public welfare, public peace and concern, the interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”