Osinbajo wants more done to end open defecation in Nigeria

Ongoing efforts to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025 has received a boost with the approval of measures to accelerate access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene by the Clean Nigeria Steering Committee chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

A meeting of the committee presided over by Osinbajo virtually, on Wednesday approved prayers contained in the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”, 2022 mid-year report.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu had earlier in a presentation on the ongoing Clean Nigeria campaign, noted slow advancement in the finalization and roll out of the Tax Credit Scheme and Blue Bond Programme as part of challenges affecting the country-wide campaign.

The prayers to the steering committee approved during the meeting:

1. Support strong advocacy to policy makers at sub national level for prioritization and funding of campaign implementation.

2. Support strong advocacy on public private partnership for sanitation services improvement in public places.

3. Support of Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the finalization of the issuance of the Blue Bond.

4. Support of Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Inland Revenue Service on the finalization of Tax Credit Scheme under the Executive Order 009.

5. 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.

6. Members of 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, 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.”

Adamu will be making the presentation at Thursday’s National Economic Council meeting, seeking the council’s endorsement.

Other officials present at the meeting included the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi; Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Esan; representatives of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria; UNICEF, the Organised Private Sector Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS WASH), and the Diaspora Commission.