FCT minister seeks private sector initiatives on open defecation

By Hudu Yakubu, Abuja 

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The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called for private sector initiatives to meet the 2025 Goal of ensuring that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free (ODF).

The call came as Nigeria joins the rest of the World to celebrate the United Nations World Toilet Day (WTD).

Dr Aliyu called for greater commitment especially at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has flagged off the Clean Nigeria Campaign with “use the toilet initiative.”

She decried the rate of Nigerians with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets, revealing that the Federal Capital Territory has a fair of the over 47 million people lacking access to sanitation and hygiene.

Disturbing figures
According to her, “Nigeria currently has over 47 million people with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets and another troubling 57 million lacking access to portable water. The FCT has its fair share of these disturbing figures.  

“Therefore, the 2019 World Toilet Day is coming at a time the Federal Government is ready to combat this scourge through a number of tools and instruments as well as programmes and initiatives that include partnership with the organized private sector in other to reverse the scourge and build a healthier Nigerian population.  

“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to reverse this ugly trend,” she said.

Crusade
The FCT State Minister called on traditional rulers and all residents of the state to see themselves as ambassadors and embark on the crusade to educate others on the need to desist from actions such as open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

She affirmed that if the respective authorities fail to resolve this menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital by 2025 may be unrealistic.

Aliyu vowed that henceforth, the FCT Administration would work closely with the six Area Councils and other Agencies of Government to scale-up commitment to implement the “National WASH Action Plan” to end open defecation across the state.

The United Nations had declared November 19, as World Toilet Day (WTD), just as the Nigerian Government had a year ago declared a State of Emergency in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.

The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day is ‘Leaving No One Behind.’ It emphasises the importance of expanding sanitation access to the more than 4.2 billion people living without safely managed sanitation options.

Olajumoke Adeleke