Programme  Poster session 3  abstract 337

“Water is God’s”: Commonality View and the Challenges of State Institutions in Nigeria

Author(s): Emmanuel M. Akpabio
Emmanuel Akpabio, PhD is a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Uyo, Nigeria. His research interest is on environment and natural resources management with emphasis on water resources management. His recent publicat


Article: abs337_article.pdf
Poster: abs337_poster.ppt
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Session: Poster session 3
AbstractThe search for

responsible and accountable water management practices has generally overlooked belief systems, perception,

reality and attitudes. Yet these all play a part in sustainable water management most especially in the Third World

Countries. The aim of this paper is to see how such cultural and indigenous issues contend with the formal State

initiatives for efficient water resources management in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. The study used key contending

State water management principles, namely water rights, cost recovery and environmental sustainability and

compared with local practice to see commonalities and differences. Meetings, interviews, observations and focus

group discussions were used to collect the data. The ideal points for such data collection were the Cross River Basin

Development Authority (CRBDA) projects which served as intersection points between formal, state-based

institutions and the informal community-based practices. In the result, it was observed that the key water

management principles adopted by the State could not fit well with the prevailing local practices and contexts.

Expectedly, the needed cooperation from the locals for those projects was weak and lacking. A number of factors

lent explanations and these bordered on the perception and attitudes to water by the locals and compounded by the

hydrological characteristics of the study areas. For instance, the notion of linking water with the supernatural agency

stultifies any formal efforts at cost recovery. This is likely going to be so in the nearest future given sufficient water

supplies from the natural sources. Since the “scarcity value” has not been appreciated, it is likely that the locals will

continue to perceive any formal water management initiatives as financially taxing rather than improving their overall

conditions. Consistent with the above local impression, the study further observed that current state policies and

programmes on water carry no elements intended for the improvements of the lives of people but meaningless

projects, which is of meaningless impacts on the lives of the intended beneficiaries. A number of recommendations

proffered include inclusive governance that takes on the views of the locals, incentive practices and cost effective

project targeting.

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