Despite several plans and actions put in place to ensure Nigeria is open defecation free by 2025, the country’s Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu has said some states have not taken any action towards tackling issues around Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) particularly the goal ending open defecation by the set year.
Of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria, the Minister said only 38 of them have been validated as open defecation free as at November 2020 which he says is an increase from 16 in 2019.
He noted that a report of the recently launched 2019 Water Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) showed that an estimated 46 million Nigerians practice open defecation, a decrease from the 47 reported in 2018.
The Minister stated this on Thursday at a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.
“In spite of the progress we are recording, some states are still not showing any appreciable progress or action in addressing WASH issues, especially towards ending open defecation.
“It’s our hope that today’s’ event will again motivate the states lagging behind to strive towards achieving the intended objectives of the Clean Nigeria Campaign resulting in a healthy competition that will drive Nigeria towards the goal of ending open defecation by 2025,” he said.
Continuing the Minister said “over this one-year period of the campaign, the number of open defecation free LGAs in the country has increased from 16 in 2019 to 38 as at November 2020.
“Additional 6 LGAs are in the process of being validated as open defecation free by the National Task Group on Sanitation,” Adamu said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in his remarks delivered virtually at the ceremony said the success of the Clean Nigeria Campaign will significantly contribute to enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, expanding business growth and entrepreneurship, which he says are some of the key priority areas of the President Buhari administration.
According to the Vice President, “the success of the Clean Nigeria Campaign will contribute to some of the key priority areas of this Government which include enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, expanding business growth and entrepreneurship; and expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said: “We are aware that access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is a critical factor in the socio-economic development of any nation and contributes to human capital outcomes such as early childhood survival, health, and educational attainment. Access to WASH services is also one of the key preventive measures in the raging global COVID-19 pandemic.”
By Abel Ejikeme