The Federal Capital Territory Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Abuja reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to making the territory open defecation free.
Aliyu gave the assurance at the inauguration of the construction of 10,000 public conveniences in the FCT, organised by the FCT Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
According to her, in the FCT, one in every three persons practices open defecation, amounting to approximately 37 per cent of the population.
Aliyu explained that in 2014, Nigeria embarked on an ambitious five-year mission to eliminate open defecation nation-wide, building millions of toilets and aiming to change the behaviour of millions of Nigerians.
She, therefore, called on FCT RUWASSA and all stakeholders to accelerate actions and efforts aimed at making FCT open defecation free.
“In Nov., 9, 2021, the FCT Administration launched an action plan targeted at ending open defecation by 2025.
“The plan involves providing equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services and strengthening community-led approaches to total sanitation,” Aliyu said.
Aliyu reiterated that the optimal benefits that accrued from adequate water supply could not be achieved without a corresponding improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices.
The minister stressed that access to adequate potable water and improved sanitation and hygiene practices played important roles in defining the human capital development of a nation.
Aliyu assured that the FCT Administration would continue to support and encourage private sector collaboration and participation in the provision of public conveniences in the territory.
According to her, this is in line with the commitment to work with the private sector to create jobs, while improving the people’s living standards.
Aliyu commended the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, UNICEF, WaterAid, Lixil Corporation, USAID, JICA and other development partners for supporting and collaborating with the FCT Administration to end open defecation before the year 2025.
Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, said the FCT Administration had drawn up a road map to end open defecation in the territory by the year 2025, in line with national target and vision.
Represented by a Director in his office, Mr Prospect Ibe, Adesola added that the road map laid out a comprehensive series of transitions that the administration considered critical to the achievement of the vision for water and sanitation.
He stressed that the FCT Administration would accelerate the deployment of infrastructure and technology that would support universal access to safe water and proper sanitation across the territory in line with the Abuja Master Plan.
Also, the acting Executive Director of RUWASSA, Dr Mohammed Dan-Hassan, noted that clean and safe toilets would ensure fundamental human dignity for millions of residents.
“Open defecation spreads disease, threatens the security of women and girls, and contributes to malnutrition.’’
By Salisu Sani-Idris