FG Seeks Citizens Support To End Open Defecation
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has stressed the need for collaborative efforts of every Nigerian to end open defecation in the country.
Adamu made the call at the Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Sanitation in Abuja.
He said the purpose of the dialogue was to review the outcome of the last dialogue held in April and get feedback from the technical team on what had been done so far.
The minister added that the meeting was also to intimate his colleagues on the launch of the open defecation campaign, which would be launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 19.
He said on the issue of sanitation, Nigeria was lagging behind, adding that 24.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population still practised open defecation translating to 47 million people.
According to him, from the India experience last year, it is possible to take 47 million Nigerians from practising open defecation by 2025 if India can take 500 million out within four years
“I think it is doable, if we all agree that it is man's business, every woman's business, everybody's business, every citizens' business to make Nigeria open defecation free.
"Mark my words when we say open defecation we are also talking about careless urination especially by men.
“If there is no political will on the path of our States' Chief Executives, it is going to be a terrible situation, we can not achieve, so, we need their support.
"And the launching itself is not the end of it all it just the beginning because we have to continue battling with this issue in a sustainable manner
“Our approach is community-led total sanitation; this issue of sanitation is a personal responsibility, so, we expect people to do the needful, not that they will sit down and expect the government to do everything for them.
“We are trying to encourage them to change their behaviour to see the need and importance of providing toilets in their households, while the public sector will be responsible to providing sanitation facilities may be in public places.
"But even that one we will like to see us partnering with the private sector because there is money to be made in this sanitation business, there is money to be made."
The Minister appealed to all Nigerians including the media to give the campaign continued support.
“You can task yourself, go to the local government and ask for land to build public toilets for your communities as your own contribution to end open defecation,” he said.
Adamu said in a bid to encourage private sector partnership, he had talked to microfinance banks and they were ready to provide small loans for people to build toilets.
He, however, said the banks were also encouraged to attach a water scheme around the toilets so the sanitation is total.
According to him, there is money to be made in the sanitation sector so, at the end, it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Adamu said he had gotten up to 90 per cent support from other ministries in the campaign to improve sanitation in Nigeria.
Also, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power and Works, said Sanitation was important to any country's prosperity, as he called on Nigerians to commit to ending open defecation in the country.
Fashola said that the Federal Government through his ministry had provided access to water in remote areas in the country.
” Between 2016 and 2018 we had 1,298 of those projects being executed, averagely it employs about 31 people to erect one.
” It means another 40, 238 people have been employed just providing this water supply access and each borehole measured impact is about 300 people in the community.
” A total number of people seen impacted is 389,400 and some of these projects are still ongoing.
"Let me also say that as we work very hard to take Nigeria out of the polio infested country I fear that our success will not be enduring if we do not embrace the campaign to use the toilets and end open defecation and urination."
He explained that the virus that carried the polio diseases was oftentimes found in human faeces and from there infected children.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, called on every Nigerian to join hands together to intensify advocacy and awareness to end open defecation.
Tallen added that it should not be left to the Ministry of Water Resources alone.
Tallen said open defecation affected women and girls more, saying “everything falls on the women at the end of day.”
She said her ministry was committed to intensifying the campaign on the use of the toilet to make Nigeria clean.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the end open defecation campaign would be launched on Nov. 19 at the Eagle Square, Abuja. (NAN)