Efforts to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025 received a boost, Wednesday, with the approval of measures to accelerate access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) by the Clean Nigeria Steering Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
A meeting of the committee presided over by Prof Osinbajo virtually, approved prayers contained in the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”, 2022 mid-year report.
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu had earlier in a presentation on the ongoing Clean Nigeria campaign, noted slow advancement in the finalization and rollout of the Tax Credit Scheme and Blue Bond Programme as part of challenges affecting the country-wide campaign.
The steering committee prayed for support for strong advocacy to policymakers at sub-national level for prioritization and funding of campaign implementation; strong advocacy on public-private partnership for sanitation services improvement in public places and support for the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning on the finalization of the issuance of the Blue Bond.
The Committee also sought the support of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service on the finalization of the Tax Credit Scheme under Executive Order 009.
It further prayed Federal Ministries of Education, Environment, and Health to accelerate the initiative of Schools WASH and Health WASH program towards improving access to Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in schools and Healthcare centres
Members of the Steering Committee to champion the delivery of their respective LGAs as Open Defecation Free in collaboration with the Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat.
Speaking while approving the prayers contained in the report, Prof Osinbajo said the recommendations “capture where the gaps are and the sort of support required.”
The Vice President said, “I think that we are making steady progress but there is need for us to do a bit more because only 18% of our people have access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in public places,” noting that performances in schools and public places must improve.
He called on stakeholders “to do more with our sub-nationals. The states hold the aces to make the required efforts to make substantial progress. The fact that more states have Open Defecation Free (ODF) status means we are on course.”
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu will be making the presentation at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, seeking the council’s endorsement.
Other officials present at the meeting included the Minister of Environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi; Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Esan; representatives of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); UNICEF, the Organised Private Sector Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS WASH), and the Diaspora Commission.