Government sued over Failure to Implement Right to Water

On the celebration of the UN Water Day on 22 March 2009, the Registered Trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Lateef Olawale Yussuf, (a Nigerian tax payer and one affected by the subject matter of the suit) sued the Federal Government over its “failure to provide access to safe and affordable water and sanitation services for about 80 million of Nigeria’s estimated 140 million people,” saying that “clean water is lacking, activities like washing of hands, cleaning of food, brushing of teeth often taken for granted in more organized societies may be disregarded because people are forced to make a choice to ration the little water, if any, that they are able to scoop up.”

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/328/09 dated 20 March 2009, the Plaintiffs stated that, “The right to water is a fundamental human right, and the failure and/or negligence of the Defendants to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the right of millions of Nigerians to safe and affordable water and sanitation services have continued to contribute to the violations of other human rights, including the right to equal treatment; the right to a general satisfactory environment; the right to health; the right to life; and the right to human dignity and security.

Without access to improved and safe water supply Nigeria cannot achieve the Millennium Development

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Goals (MDGs), including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; and ensuring environmental sustainability.”

Joined as Defendants in the suit are: President Umaru Yar’Adua; Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources; Minister of Interior, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. The suit is pending before the court.

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