By Georgina Humphrey
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, says Nigeria is among countries lagging behind in the global achievement of adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all aimed at eliminating open defecation by 2030.
The Minister stated this at a ceremony in commemoration of this year’s World Toilet Day in Abuja.
Prof. Utsev said with only seven years to the estimated time, Nigeria must quintuple its current rate of implementation and triple its investments in sanitation to meet the goal.
He further added that the practice of open defecation is linked to sanitation related diseases which impacts negatively on socio-economic development and aggravates poverty.
“Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are basic human rights which are critical to the socio-economic development of any nation. It also contributes to human capital development such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment.
“Progress on achieving the global SDG Sanitation target of safely managed services is off track and Nigeria is regrettably among those countries lagging behind”.
In Nigeria, only over half of the population have access to basic sanitation services with about a quarter engaged in open defecation.
The Minister reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of which target 6.2 for 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”.
On his part, the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Balarebe Lawal, called for the improvement of toilet facilities in schools and emphasized the need for environmental officers to wake up to their responsibilities in ensuring proper toilet facilities in all communities across the country.
Earlier, the Chief Wash Nigeria at UNICEF, Dr. Jane Bevan said everybody needs to get involved in making sure there are improved toilets in every home at minimal costs.
In her vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Didi Walson Jack, appreciated all the stakeholders working tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria achieves its goals.
There were good will messages from the ministry of education, UNICEF, the private sector and Presentation of various categories of awards to schools in the FCT.
The theme for this year’s world toilet day is ” Acceleration change” and was put together by the ministry of environment, water resources and sanitation and some private partners.
By Georgina Humphrey
Written by: Safiya Wada
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