The country has five years to the target set by Nigeria for ending open defecation nationwide
Only 22 more local government areas in Nigeria have become open defecation free (ODF) since last year, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, says.
This brings to 38 the number of LGAs which have attained the status, five years to the target set by Nigeria for ending open defecation nationwide.
The minister said this at the first anniversary of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign” in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the 22 local government areas became open defecation free (ODF) after the government started the campaign in 2019 to end open defecation.
“Over this one year period of the campaign, the number of ODF LGAs in the country has increased from 16 in 2019 to 38 as at November.
“Additional six LGAs are in the process of being validated as ODF by the National Task Group on Sanitation,” Mr Adamu said.
He said the ministry was able to achieve the feat despite limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic and commended all partners for their contributions to the achievement.
“In recognition of their commitment, the ODF LGAS will be prioritised for water supply interventions under the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) in accordance with the established programme protocol,’’ Mr Adamu said.
He frowned at some states which were still not showing any appreciable progress or action in addressing Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues especially towards ending open defecation.
“ We recognise that the success of this campaign is dependent on strong engagement with states, LGAs and other stakeholders to secure the needed political and high-level commitment required to drive the campaign,” Mr Adamu said.
The minister gave assurance of the ministry’s commitment to building more partnerships and collaborations within and across sectors to ensure that deliberate and sustained attention needed to end open defecation in the country was in place.
He expressed optimism that the event would motivate states lagging behind to strive towards achieving the intended objectives of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.
Mr Adamu said this would result in a healthy competition that would drive the nation towards ending open defecation by 2025.
On his part, the Minister of Environment, Mahmood Abubakar, urged Nigerians to partner with stakeholders on ending open defecation, stressing that open defecation was detrimental to human well-being.
The Organised Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) representative, Nicholas Igwe, commended the Ministry of Water Resources for the support in the fight against open defecation as well as the launch of OPS-WASH Project“ Flushit’’ at the anniversary celebration.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo commended the Ministry of Water Resources for complying with the Executive Order on ODF and urged that efforts to end open defecation be put into effect by 2025.
Mr Osinbajo advised that all public places such as markets, offices and worship centres must have accessible toilets within their premises to end open defecation.