FG kicks off campaigns to end open defecation
Iqued that Nigeria may soon come tops in the global ranking on open defecation with 120 million people lacking decent toilets, the Federal Government has launched a strategic document for the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Campaign plan.
The ODF campaign plan launched during the 25th edition of the National Council on Water Resources in Abuja is to be championed by the Wife of the President Mrs. Aisha Buhari.
Speaking a the launch, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said unless concerted effort is made to purge the country of open defecation, Nigeria may soon overtake India as the leading country on Open Defecation in the World
He noted that the ODF campaign plan was to fulfill the Nigor Declaration Commitment and to operationalize the ODF roadmap.
Adamu, who highlighted the efforts of Indian authorities on the issues of sanitation and open defecation, stressed “three years ago, only 40 per cent of Indians were using toilets but currently 95 per cent of Indians are practicing full sanitation practices.
“They have not only stopped to defecate in the open. They are also re-cycling their waste products. They have transformed within three years.
“In the last three years, they have built 80million toilets. We need this kind of quantum leap in this country. By next year, wherever you go in the world, you will hear that Nigeria is number one in open defecation. And that is a national shame we must not allow to happen”, he added.
The minister however revealed that the Federal Government would soon enter into technical cooperation with the team from India to salvage Nigeria’s situation.
He also pointed out that with the recent launch of the National Action Plan by Mr. President, there would be a purposeful collaboration in all activities towards achieving access to potable water, sanitation and hygiene for all Nigerians and a renewed commitment towards defecation free nation by 2025.
“If this is not done, we stand the chance of taking the centre stage of open defecation countries when India would have exited by mid-2019,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government is finalising plans on its Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy; envisaged to complement extant laws, curb the menace of open defecation and urination.
The State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, who disclosed this at 2018 World Toilet Day in Ikeja, decried the practices of open defecation and urination as unwholesome with a lot of negative impact on the environment, public health, human dignity and personal safety especially for women, children and those in vulnerable situations.
He said that the 2018 World Toilet Day celebration, themed: “When Nature Calls”, was “promoting the campaign against open defecation, a practice that is not only unhealthy but also anathema to the Lagos Megacity of our dream”.
He stated that not less than 892 million people around the world practiced open defecation, as they were unable to access basic sanitation facilities, particularly toilets and water.
“This staggering statistics, no doubt, calls for urgent action among all stakeholders to prioritise toilet and sanitation issues, enhance access to water and sanitation facilities and as well spread awareness of the ills of undesirable sanitation practices”, he said.
The commissioner further stressed that the World Toilet Day celebration has brought to the front burner issues such as water, sanitation and hygiene which required urgent actions to stem the tide of diseases and bring about healthy citizenry.
According to him, proper handling of these critical issues would help reduce government expenditure on treatment of diseases and make more money available for other important public uses.
He informed that the Lagos State Government was making determined efforts to eradicate the menace of open defecation and urination through the provision of public toilets and upgrading of already existing facilities across the State as well as the implementation of the Lagos State Water Sanitation and Hygiene Policy.