National Launch Of The ‘Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet’ Campaign
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE NATIONAL LAUNCH OF THE ‘CLEAN NIGERIA: USE THE TOILET’ CAMPAIGN IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 19TH 2019
It is my pleasure to join you all at this national launch and official rollout of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign under the programme ‘To End Open Defecation in Nigeria’.
Today’s event provides a platform for us to reiterate our commitment to improving the living standards and quality of life of our people. Access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene known as (WASH) services is a critical factor in the socio-economic development of any nation because it is a major contributor to human capital outcomes such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment.
This administration has consistently affirmed its commitment to the development of the WASH sector in Nigeria. The launch of the National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the Sector and the declaration of a State of Emergency by the President last year was among the many initiatives of Government in addressing the challenges confronting the sector.
The National Action Plan is phased into Emergency, Recovery and Revitalization stages. In this emergency phase of the Action Plan it is our desire to aggressively mobilize the entire country towards ending the practice of open defecation.
There is no need to debate the point that sanitation is a major public health issue and that poor sanitation adversely impacts us all. The World Bank report on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to unsanitary or shared toilets and open defecation estimates that Nigeria loses N455 billion annually, with open defecation accounting for a third of this amount. These costs include health care, loss of productivity, premature deaths, and poor educational outcomes, among others.
But perhaps some of the more dire costs of open defecation are those that cannot be quantified in monetary terms – the social costs, loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence, especially for women and girls.
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, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.
Meeting this target is expected to contribute significantly to the achievement of other Goals. Specifically, it will contribute to Nigeria’s achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.
Between 2016 and 2019, with the support of our development partners, 14 Local Government Areas have been declared open-defecation free of the 774 LGAs in the country. This 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.
Today, which also marks the United Nations designated World Toilet Day is an auspicious day to officially roll out the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign.
The Clean Nigeria Campaign is a national transformative initiative to mobilize the entire nation towards imbibing the culture of safe and sustainable sanitation especially as we look forward to our 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 recognizes 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. So households must be mobilized to provide their own sanitation facilities. Government institutions and the private sector should provide sanitation facilities in public places such as schools, health care centres, parks and markets, in order to realise total coverage and sustainable access for all of the populace, again as we look toward the target date of 2025.
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.
To this end, States and the Federal Capital Territory should consider common sense policies and measures such as ensuring that construction sites are equipped with toilet facilities. Property development control regulators can also make it mandatory for buildings to include external toilet facilities for staff such as security guards. These and other such measures will reduce the incidence of public defecation.
With one third of the Nigerian population without access to basic water supply services and more than half of the population without basic sanitation services, we must all redouble our efforts and work together in order to meet the nation’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene needs.
As a Nation we simply cannot afford the huge costs including fatalities caused by preventable water and sanitation related diseases as a result of inadequate WASH services. In contributing to the government’s efforts, citizens must also take action to avoid open defecation.
I wish to commend State Governments who have taken several steps and initiative to develop their State specific Action Plan for the WASH sector especially in the last few months.
As the President said during the launch of the National Action Plan last year, Federal Government’s support to States will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective states and to end open defecation by 2025. It is our expectation that this national launch will trigger State and LGAs to launch their own mass mobilization of citizens of their states towards the target date that has been set.
On this now it is now my special privilege and pleasure to officially launch the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign towards an Open Defecation Free Nigeria.
Thank you very much for your attention.