VP’s Remarks At The First Anniversary Of ‘Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet’ Campaign
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ‘CLEAN NIGERIA: USE THE TOILET’ CAMPAIGN ON THE 26TH OF NOVEMBER, 2020
It is my pleasure to join you all as we mark the first anniversary of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign under the National programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria.
Today’s event provides a platform for us to reflect on the progress being made in meeting the objectives of the Clean Nigeria Campaign and to further reiterate our commitment to improving the living standards and quality of life of our people.
We are aware that access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is a critical factor in the socio-economic development of any nation and contributes to human capital development outcomes such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment. Access to these services is also one of the key preventive measures of the raging global COVID-19 pandemic.
The practice of open defecation is linked to sanitation-related diseases which affect productivity and socio-economic outcomes and aggravates poverty. The cost of poor sanitation is severe and they impact us all. These costs include health care problems, premature deaths, loss of productivity, poor educational outcomes.
The social costs of open defecation though intangible are no less grievous, these include loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence especially against women and girls.
Meeting target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals for Water and Sanitation which 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”, is expected to contribute significantly to the achievement of other Goals as we build a healthy and virile nation.
To this end, this administration has consistently affirmed its commitment to the development of the WASH sector in Nigeria as evidenced by the launch of the National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the Sector and the declaration of a State of Emergency by Mr. President, at the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme and launch of the Clean Nigeria Campaign last year.
The Clean Nigeria Campaign is backed by Presidential Executive Order 009 which gives effect to its implementation. The Executive Order provides that the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap be put into effect towards meeting the national target of ending open defecation by 2025.
It mandates the ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat’ in collaboration with relevant government institutions to ensure that all public places including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets within their premises. It also provides for the enactment of legislation appropriate sanctions and penalties to back up the fight against open defecation while ensuring that all developmental projects include construction of sanitation facilities as an integral part of the approval and implementation process.
Between last year and now, in furtherance of the Campaign and with the support of our development partners, 17 additional Local Government Areas have so far been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) making a total of 33 Open Defecation free LGAs in the country.
Today, we will be recognizing these LGAs that have led the process in our nation’s journey to an open defecation free status as we understand that significant efforts were made to achieve these results.
Each of these open defecation free LGAs will receive donations of Satopan toilets provided by Lixil Nigeria Ltd. We enjoin States to prioritize these LGAs for the provision of water supply facilities and the Federal Government will be supporting these as part of its ongoing initiatives.
The Federal Government will continue to engage all stakeholders and harmonize actions to end open defecation in Nigeria and reiterates its commitment to support sub-national level initiatives towards ending open defecation and improving access to WASH services for the populace.
To this end, I wish to commend State Governments who have taken the initiative to develop their State-specific Action Plans for the WASH sector with a declaration of a State of Emergency and have commenced the roll out of their State level campaign to end open defecation with the provision of needed financial resources.
It is evident that we are making progress, although marginal in the fight against open defecation in the country as seen in the statistics from the recently launched 2019 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) report.
Consequently, we must all increase our efforts and work together to meet the nation’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene needs, as we cannot continue to expose our citizens to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases due to inadequate WASH services.
Ending open defecation is not just about access to toilets, it is about generating demand for toilets and changing people’s behaviour regarding toilet usage. The Clean Nigeria Campaign as a transformational and behaviour change campaign will require the contribution and commitment of everyone; government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners and the entire populace in building a new culture of safe sanitation.
In our desire to aggressively mobilize the entire country towards ending the practice of open defecation, we have identified Campaign Ambassadors to support the national drive towards open defecation free status. These are citizens who have contributed to the existing successes achieved so far under the Campaign or have been identified as persons of influence who can significantly advance the Campaign.
As a Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador, you will be required to provide leadership in advancing the objectives of the Campaign and engage in Campaign activities as may be initiated by you or other stakeholders. I enjoin all nominated Ambassadors to give their best to this assignment and bring to their wealth of experience within and outside the WASH sector towards meeting the national target of ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.
The success of the Clean Nigeria Campaign will contribute to some of the key priority areas of this Government which include enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, expanding business growth and entrepreneurship; and expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians.
It is in this regard that the initiative of the Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) tagged ‘FLUSHIT’ which aims at promoting private sector-led innovative financial strategies in WASH, is a welcome development. The role of the private sector is critical in building a virile sanitation economy which will drive the sustenance of the results being achieved under the Clean Nigeria Campaign.
On this note, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour to officially launch the Project FLUSHIT Initiative of the Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) and to formally appoint Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassadors towards meeting the objectives of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign for an Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025.
Thank you for your attention.