By Anayo Ezugwu
VICE President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has inaugurated the steering committee for the implementation of the Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign. He said the federal government was expanding access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities as one of Nigeria’s most effective weapons against infectious diseases.
Speaking during a virtual inauguration of the committee on Thursday, May 28 in Abuja, Osinbajo expressed worry that public places still have low access to water and sanitation facilities. The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the federal executive council, states, local government areas, civil society and the organised private sector.
Osinbajo said: “We are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time. As our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that expanding access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, WASH, facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.
“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19. This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector.”
Speaking on the progress made since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016, the Vice President said more local government areas across the country have so far been certified as Open Defecation Free, according to the National Open Defecation Free, ODF, Protocol.
“The key objectives of this effort include the implementation of a campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025. This will involve mobilizing support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners,” he said.
Speaking further on the importance of the campaign on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria, Osinbajo said it would create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda. “The campaign will mobilize various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies; we will also establish mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learned,” he said.
According to the Vice President, the group will meet bi-annually to amongst other things provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria Campaign. “The committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign,” he added.
– May 30, 2020 @ 13:28 GMT /