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e-discussion: Implementing Right to Water and Sanitation in Nigeria

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Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this discourse. I work as a law lecturer at the University of Benin, a federal university in Nigeria, and a PhD Research Fellow at the UNESCO-IHE and University of Amsterdam.

Please find below a few thoughts of mine on the questions raised for this week.

1. Which individuals and groups do you consider to be the most disadvantaged or vulnerable?
I am currently investigating the implementation of the human right to sanitation in Nigeria, as part of my PhD research titled ‘Environmental Human Rights and Development: Case of sanitation’. In the course of my work, I have identified geographical location as a major cause of vulnerability/disadvantage. For instance, this affects various individuals or groups who cannot be reached by formal service providers due to lack of access to roads and adequate housing, as is the case with slum dwellers and/or migratory populations.

2. How have you identified people who are likely to be disadvantaged individuals and groups with respect to access to water, sanitation and hygiene?

In the course of my primary data collection, I have been able to identify the disadvantaged individuals/groups through interviewing the Executive Secretary of AMCOW, officials from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environment, the National Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency, and state agencies Nigeria. The next phase of my fieldwork will target households in slums, formal settlements, and emergency situations.

3. What have you done to ensure that the needs of individuals and groups who are likely to be disadvantaged are met?

So far, I have presented my research findings at conferences attended by academics, NGOs, politicians, and government officials, both within and outside Nigeria. I also write articles for publication in peer reviewed journals. Furthermore, in future, I plan to organise awareness campaigns at the local level because I think that another major factor which reinforces vulnerability is the lack of awareness of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups about their human rights; this makes them unable to demand performance from the responsible agencies/organisations, as a legal entitlement rather than as a charity issue.

With best regards,

Pedi C. Obani, LL.M.
Lecturer II
Faculty of Law
University of Benin
Benin City, P.M.B. 1154
Edo State, Nigeria
M: +234(0)8107242908
Skype: pedi_obani

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