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‘Nigeria needs 9.4m toilets to end open defecation’

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Open defecation, urination
File: Open-Defecation

No fewer than 9.4 million toilets are needed to be constructed annually if Nigeria will meet its Open Defecation-Free target by 2025.

Mr Timeyin Uwejamomere, the National Coordinator, National Action Plan on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), made this known at the ongoing National WASH Action Plan Research and Capacity Building Workshop in Abuja.

According to him, any intervention that will be done should focus on Nigeria’s population which currently stands at 191 million, saying this amount to construction of 5,150 toilets daily.

He said that there was need for the partners to think of a solution to the funding needs in the water and sanitation needs, saying the funds would not be coming from the Federal Government alone.

He said that state governments needed to build the capacity of their population to use their toilets, citing examples of how India used women to meet the sanitation needs of the country.

“Our target in Nigeria is open defecation free vision by 2025, so if you divide the population that are practicing open defecation by the number of years that we have left, we need to build 9.4 million toilets across the 37 states.

“So we need to help the capacity of our states to build the capacity of its people to build toilets; one of the things they did in India is to train women to be masons, known as ‘queen masons’, a lot of women who have never been out of their homes before now earn incomes and started having a voice.

“We have key gaps and opportunities for the sanitation and potable water sector based on the statistics that we currently have, perhaps one of the things we need to do is how to deepen this information to see what each state and each local government needs to deliver.

“It is the population of Nigeria that we want to serve, 130 million people need to have even if it’s just a basic toilet or safely managed facility.

“Only about five per cent of our population have anything to do with closed circuit sewer system and the challenge we are dealing with in sanitation is huge and we need over two billion dollars to address this challenge.”

Uwejamomere also called for modalities to address alternatives to practices of faecal sludge management, saying it such should be relevant and adaptable to current realities in the country.

Mr Benson Ajisegiri, the Director, Water Supply and Public Private Partnership, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, giving an overview of the National WASH action Plan, said it’s target was to see that all Nigerians have access to sustainable and safely-managed WASH services by 2030.

He said to address the WASH challenge, the ministry realised the need to improve the technical capacity of Water Agencies at all tiers of government, noting that knowledge based human capacity drives the implementation of the action plan.

He said the plan was to see that the Federal Government and willing states jointly committed and established institutional and funding foundations for sustainable WASH services.

“The plan will embody a new federal-state partnership by which states remain responsible for their WASH sector development plan, while the Federal Government can better guide, support and incentivise state investments and reforms.”

The director hinted about the development of a National WASH fund, saying the workshop outcome would be to situate the Global Sanitation Graduate School (GSGS) programme within a holistic WASH research and capacity building agenda.

He expressed optimism that the workshop would open up Nigerian institutions, academics and the professionals for the GSGS programme.

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Earlier the minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals Sox on Water and Sanitation and ensure that no one was left behind by 2030.

Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Comfort Ekaro, said the country had seen that to achieve the National Action Plan on WASH, things ought to be done differently, rather than reinventing the wheel.

“We have reinvented our zeal to implement the National Action Plan and the priority actions and timeline for the emergency phase, to this end, we have launched the clean Nigeria, use the toilet campaign.

“Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Executive Order, to support the campaign. The goal is to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.”

Vanguard

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