FG urges states to key into open defecation-free roadmap

Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has called on state governments to key into the Open Defecation-Free Roadmap to promote sanitation and hygiene in the country.

Adamu, who made this call at the National Task Group on Sanitation meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, said this call became necessary following continued and low progress made in ending open defecation practice in the country.

Nigeria has a Roadmap for Ending Open Defecation by 2025, with a goal for every Nigerian to have access to safely managed sanitation and attain 100 per cent coverage of improved sanitation nationally.

He said that it was saddening and ‘scandalous’ that only nine local governments had been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), out of the 774 nationally.

According to him, states have a huge role to play in hygiene promotion, and with more commitment and political will at all tiers of government, this will be achieved.

He said that the ministry was taking some steps such as declaring a national emergency on the water and sanitation sector and implementation of ODF road map.

“We have too many paper works, and less action, we want to start seeing more actions, especially in the states, we want to see that quantum leap toward ending open defecation.

“The challenge we are always having as the Federal Government is translating these ideas to the states.

“In the 36 states and the FCT, many of them have different priorities; we must continue to strive to see that the issue of ODF campaign is aligned together.”

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Adamu said that Nigeria could not continue to do things with the bureaucratic mentality, adding that it was now time to think outside the box, and with behaviour change, “this can be achieved’’.

The minister said that the Federal Government was already partnering with the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari to advocate and champion the ODF campaigns.

“In the last three years, India has built 80 million 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 and we must not allow it to happen,” he said.

The minister, however, revealed that the Federal Government would soon enter into technical cooperation with India to salvage Nigeria’s situation.

On water contamination, Adamu said there was the need for stakeholders’ collaboration to regulate and promote water quality, saying it was a matter for regret that Nigeria still lacked behind in access to potable water and sanitation.

The National Task Group on Sanitation is an umbrella body of ministries, international organisations and stakeholders working to promote sanitation and hygiene in the country.

Since inception, the group has been able to facilitate and validate open defecation communities.

It carries advocacies to state governments to increase budgetary allocation for the sanitation and hygiene sector.

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