The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has said states’ attitude and poor governance culture in the water and sanitation sector may affect the attainment of an Open Defecation Free country by 2025.
Adamu said this at the Opening of the National Retreat for States on the “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet” Campaign in Abuja on Monday, February 13, 2023.
He said there was the need for states to show more commitments by complementing the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the national ODF targets by 2025.
“Some states are still upcoming. Katsina State is hopefully going to be the next one, But there are states where there’s virtually no progress at all, that’s why every time, we need to review the situation from time to time and find a way to encourage the states.
“We have given every support and we will continue to provide that support, but we need that political level, the highest level in the states, for the country to have a lot of traction.
“But I keep saying once you have the political will as a people, take this campaign as theirs, they own it, it’s going to go on autopilot.
“So what we are waiting for is for the nation, not only the state government, but the people themselves, to own this campaign, to understand that sanitation is a personal obligation.”
The minister noted the need to revisit all strategies and goals on ending open defecation and address the funding gaps, saying this would change the poor narrative.
According to him, ending open defecation is not just about access to tollets, but about generating demand for toilets and effecting behavioural change in favour of the use of toilets.
“It is imperative that we strengthen our supply chain towards sanitation building and the creation of a sanitation market that will propel a new economy that will ensure better livelihood.
“Poverty reduction and job creation are all the benefits of the new economy, achieving this however, will require the involvement of all stakeholders.”
Also speaking, Mr Oumar Doumbouya, UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, said it was impressive that Nigeria is able to attain over 100 ODF local governments.
This, he noted, is a huge achievement even for the West African region as Nigeria holds a critical part of the region.
He said closing the gaps and leveraging on current efforts was crucial if the nation would attain its target.
According to him, there is the need for inclusion of everyone in interventions, adding that using innovation approaches was the key to achieving open defecation free target.
Ms. Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, said the country had the potential to excel in sanitation economy, through job creation, revenue generation and a healthier economy, with efficient provision of safely managed WASH services.
Mere hinted that the organised private sector in WASH would be announcing a few partnerships in the coming month, aimed at declaring 100 LGAs open defecation free.
The meeting had representatives from all state water agencies, and other partners.
The meeting was an avenue for cross-learning, discuss challenges and analyse opportunities in the water and sanitation sector.
By Tosin Kolade