Sen. Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo) says Nigeria loses over $3 billion annually due to poor sanitation, partly caused by scourging effect of open defecation.
Ordia stated this during plenary while leading the debate on the general principles of a bill to prohibit open urination/open defecation.
The bill is titled: “A Bill for an Act to establish the Clean Nigeria Agency for the purpose, among others to prohibit open urination/open defecation in order to keep Nigeria clean and diseases free”.
Leading the debate, Ordia said that open defecation was not only a social stigma but also a factor contributing to violence against young girls and young married women.
”Nigeria with a population of over 200 million people is the largest market on the continent, its population is about twice the size of Ethiopia (110 million) and Egypt (102 million).
“In spite of this giant posture, Nigeria wears a shameful cloak of being the leading nation in the world with the highest number of people practicing open urination and defecation estimated at over 46 million people.
“The practice has had a negative effect on the populace and on the economy, making it almost impossible for the country to meet the 2030 deadline of achieving goal six of the United Nations Sustainable development goal,” he said.
Ordia said that considering the negative effect and socio-economic damages of urinating and defecating in the open, providing a legal frame work and creating an agency in the form of a subsidiary legislation was not only eminent but long overdue.
Contributing, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba) said the bill should be given the needed support so that the country would come out a clean nation, a clean people with clean attitude.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, thereafter referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Water Resources to report back in three weeks.
By Naomi Sharang