The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Ministries of Health and Water Resources to prioritise rural water and sanitation projects to ensure that an Open Defecation Free (ODF) society is achieved.
The lawmakers said that the ministries should work in conjunction with relevant development partners to ensure potable water and functional toilet facilities.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) at the plenary on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
Moving the motion earlier, Soli announced that there are concerted efforts by the Federal and States Governments to curb the incidence of open defecation across the country.
According to him, Nigeria is among the global league of countries where open defecation is prevalent with an estimated 47 million people indulging in the practice.
Soli said that, as part of the Government’s efforts to remove Nigeria from the unenviable World Bank ranking in Open Defecation, President Muhammadu Buhari on November 20, 2019 signed an Executive Order 009 titled “Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025 and for related matters.”
The lawmaker said that Nigeria is at the brink of becoming number one country with the highest number of people in the world practicing open defecation.
“Efforts in the past to address the situation had yielded minimal results and if there is no concrete effort from all and sundry, Nigeria may not be able to meet the projected target.
“Order 009 by 2025 as well as achieving the Sustainable Development Goal No.6 which intends to address Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH);
“I am worried about the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Report which estimated that about 122,000 Nigerians, including 87,000 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhoea, intestinal worm infections, cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and other preventable sanitation illnesses,” he said.
The House urged the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and other relevant agencies to give proper sensitisation to the public on the negative effects of open defecation.
The lower chambers tasked members of the National Assembly, constituency sensitisation campaigns on the dangers of open defecation form part of their legislative agenda.
In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Ahmed Wase, mandated the Committees on Healthcare Services and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.
By EricJames Ochigbo