Buhari to launch ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign’ to tackle open defecation

***as FEC okays N2.5bn for gas pipeline, N3.2bn for Pategi water

President Muhammadu Buhari is to launch the Clean Nigeria Campaign to end open defecation, which has posed a great challenge in the country, by 2025.

To be known as “Clean Nigeria, Use The Toilet,” the date of the launch of the initiative is yet to be determined.

But it is coming as Nigeria inches towards being the number one open defecation country in the world once India is declared open defecation-free later this year.

The plan was revealed by the Minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu, who alongside his colleagues Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,  Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Federal Capital Territory, Bello Mohammed, briefed State House correspondents after the 10-hour meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

Adamu said Nigeria has a road map to end open defecation 2016-2025, as he noted that out of the 774 local government areas, only 10 are open defecation free.

He said: “Ten out of 774 local governments are very dismal but it is work in progress. But we have also made some progress as 20 to 21,000 communities in the country today are open defecation free.

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“The problem is we still have 47 million people practising open defecation and Nigeria has been moving up the ladder since 2012 from being number four or five in the world to having the ranking of number two.

“India is number one but India has been working to end open defecation. In the last four years, they have taken over 500 million out of open defecation. And India plans to declare itself open defecation free by October 2019.

“Once that happens, Nigeria will become the number one country in the world that practices open defecation. You will all agree with me that this is an honour we do not want to have.

“So council approved a number of measures including the fact that Mr President will launch the Clean Nigeria Campaign on a day to be decided. So our campaign is ‘clean Nigeria, use the toilet.

“The president and cabinet members are to become ambassadors of clean Nigeria campaign by providing the needed leadership and commitment for successful implementation of the campaign.

“We also hope to create a clean Nigeria movement and to harmonise ministerial activities so that we have a seamless approach regarding sanitisation in the country.

“We are also requesting for an annual budget of N10.6 billion to be approved, this is not money that will be taken out of budget alone. We will also have contributions from development partners, the corporate world including leveraging on corporate social responsibility, grants and to mobilise Nollywood, youths, children, women etc.

“It will come with an executive order to give effect to the Clean Nigeria campaign. All ministries are to establish specific budget lines and work plans for implementing their sector-specific activities to end open defecation and improve sanitation in the country.

“The campaign will also involve state governments and households. We intend to use community-led sanitation and hinging more on behavioural change rather than doling out money.”

Also speaking, Kachikwu said council also approved two memos for Ministry of Petroleum. It approved a fire service truck at the cost of N420 million inclusive five per cent VAT for Nigerian Content Monitoring Board (NCMB) 17 floors building headquarters in Bayelsa.

Council also approved for the NNPC to provide  a pipeline installation to move dry gas through the north, South joint corridors to the west corridor operated by Shell and Seplant, about 30 kilometers at the cost of N2.5 billion (naira component) and $32 million (dollar component) at the completion period of 18 months.

He added: “The significance of that is that the more we can gather gas to feedstock the pipelines that were built, the easier it will be to create that hop we are looking for to move gas around the corridors of Nigeria, north, south, east and west as the case may be.”

The FCT minister, Bello said the Council also approved the contract for the construction of a secondary road in Kwali FCT at the sum of N1.8 billion for a period of 15 months.

The council also approved the purchase of heavy-duty equipment at N147 million to pull down buildings that contravene the Abuja master plan.

Also, the council approved four water tankers for FCT Fire Service at the sum of N725 million.

Bello added that the council also approved a contract for phase 2 of the Pategi water project in Kwara state at the cost of N3.2 billion.

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The finance minister, Ahmed, said council approved a contract for the procurement of communication gadgets for the Nigeria Customs Service at the cost of N247.9 million to be delivered in eight weeks.

She said. “The gadgets are necessary to enable Nigeria customs enhanced its end to end encryption of messages delivery to avoid tapping by unscrupulous smugglers and their cohosts. The need has become necessary because of the renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Customs Service on smuggling as well as other economic activity.”

It also approved the acquisition of residential accommodation for the staff of Nigerian Customs Service, an estate of 42 flats at N152 million per block of six units. The total sum approved is N970.2 million inclusive of VAT.

Similarly approved was a contract sum of  N710 million for the automation project called “Light House,” a data warehousing system that integrates different relevant tax data for the purpose of accurate and effective revenue assessment, as well as for the determination of assets and income status for both corporate and individual taxpayers.”

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