President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”, as part of measures to end open defecation in the country.
The launch, which coincided with the World Toilet Day, is to kick-start strategies that will move Nigeria from its present position of number one in Africa and second in the world in open defecation.
Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to providing conducive environment for the citizenry to end open defecation.
“World Bank report on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to use of unsanitary or shared toilets and open defecation, estimates that Nigeria loses N455billion annually with open defecation accounting for a third of this amount.
“These costs include healthcare, loss of productivity, premature deaths, poor educational outcomes, among others,” he said.
Buhari said that some of the dire costs of open defecation were those that could not be quantified in monetary terms such as the social costs, loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence, especially for women and girls.
He said that the Target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goal for Water and Sanitation “seeks to achieve by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation.”
“This is paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations,” he said.
The president noted that meeting the target was expected to contribute significantly to the achievement of other goals.
He said that this would specifically contribute to Nigeria’s achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of the population.
He said that between 2016 and 2019, only 14 out of the 774 local government areas of the country had been declared Open Defecation Free with the support of other international development partners.
“This achievement is a far cry from our target of making Nigeria open-defecation-free by 2025 according to the national roadmap.
“The Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign is part of our effort to fast track our progress and ensure we achieve our goal,”he said.
He noted that as the United Nations marks World Toilet Day, it was an auspicious day to officially roll out the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign.
He described the Clean Nigeria campaign as a national transformative initiative to mobilise the entire nation toward imbibing the culture of safe and sustainable sanitation practices toward the 2025 target date.
“This campaign is also being backed by a Presidential Executive Order which will give effect to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria campaign.
“The Federal Government recognises the fact that action to end open defecation in Nigeria will require the contribution and commitment of everyone: government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners, traditional and religious leaders, and the entire populace, ”he said.
Buhari said households must be mobilised to provide their own sanitation facilities.
“Government institutions and the private sector should provide sanitation facilities in public places such as schools, healthcare centres, parks and markets,” he stressed.
He said that this would ensure total coverage and sustainable access for the populace.
“Although, we all know that the primary responsibility for provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services lies with the states and local government areas, the Federal Government remains committed to supporting the states initiatives aimed at improving access to these services for the populace,” he said.