Think-tanks in Nigeria have urged federal and state governments to focus on sustainable delivery of projects to adequately bridge huge infrastructure shortfall in the country.
The experts, including Director General of Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, the Executive Director of Center for Ethics and Sustainable Development (CESD), Dr Olajumoke Akiode, Professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, Ife Adewumi, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) Laoye Jaiyeola as well as the Deputy High Commissioner of the Australian Government to Nigeria, Cleo Wilson stressed the need to plan infrastructure with special consideration for people and environment .
According to them, despite various government interventions, a lot still needs to be done in terms of identifying and contextualizing challenges and while proffering cost effective solutions that would be thoroughly gender and socially inclusive.The stakeholders, who gathered at the second Sustainable Infrastructure Delivery (SID) colloquium, organised by CESD in Lagos, added that government must collaborate with the private sector, academia and civil society groups through well-crafted, future proofed Public Private Partnerships to a people-centred and environmentally friendly infrastructure.
Izuwah said there was need to prevent the frictions and setbacks caused by neglecting social and environmental sustainability, thereby reducing uncertainty for policy makers and investors.
According to him, the three pillars of sustainability will help to structure the process of rational, transparent, informed, and consensus-based decisions on the infrastructure project and the necessary trade-offs.Akiode, who is also convener of SID Colloquium and Women in Infrastructure Community Africa (WICA) platform, said the country must be conscious of activities and situations around them both in the private and public spaces.
She said Nigerians must question the status quo, especially in governance as the infrastructure deficit plaguing Nigeria and Africa was a function of inefficient governance.
“Citizens should not stop at asking the right questions but should make impactful contributions as collaborations and partnerships are essential in bringing about desired sustainable infrastructure delivery with environmental sensibility,” Akiode said.
Reacting to the launch of the WICA platform at the event, Akiode called women to fill existing gaps, especially in providing incentives for increased girls’ education and ensuring increased number of women experts in infrastructure delivery.She added that there was need for woman to pool resources together to enable WICA influence the infrastructure agenda for Nigeria and Africa, ensuring that the agenda is environmentally friendly and ‘leaves no one behind’
Adewunmi, who delivered a lead paper on “Making good water available and adequate,” called for the need to deliver potable water, stressing that almost any grossly polluted water body could be treated for use.
Both flood prone areas and dessert areas could be treated using coordinated and appropriate remedial approaches, he added.Wilson noted the need for strong bilateral relationship between the Australian government and the Nigerian government.She said the mission has planned various initiatives to ensure tie between the countries become stronger.