Udora Orizu in Abuja
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the role of the private sector is critical in building a strong sanitation economy that will drive the sustenance of the results being achieved under the Clean Nigeria Campaign and bring an end to open defecation.
Osinbajo, who spoke at a ceremony organised to mark the first anniversary of ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign’, said the campaign would contribute to some of the key priority areas of the government, which include enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction; expanding business growth and quality healthcare to Nigerians.
He said the initiative of the Organised Private Sector in Water Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) tagged: ‘Flush it’, aimed at promoting private sector-led innovative financial strategies in WASH, was a welcome development.
Osinbajo also stated that to effectively mobilise the entire country towards ending open defecation, campaign ambassadors had been identified to support the national drive towards open defecation free status.
He said the event provided a platform for stakeholders to reflect on the progress being made to reiterate government’s commitment to improving the living standards and quality of life of the people.
The VP disclosed that more local government areas in the country had made progress in combating open defecation.
According to him, “Between last year and now, in furtherance of the campaign and with the support of our development partners, 17 additional local government areas have so far been declared open defecation-free, making a total of 33 open defecation-free local government areas in the country. Today, we will be recognising these local government areas that have led the process in our country’s journey to an open defecation free status as we understand that significant efforts were made to achieve these results. Each of these open defecation-free local government areas will receive donations of Satoan toilets provided by Lixil Nigeria Limited.
‘’We enjoin states to prioritise these local government areas for the provision of water supply facilities, and the federal government will be supporting this as part of its ongoing initiatives.’’
Osinbajo added that the federal government would continue to engage all stakeholders, and harmonise actions to end open defecation in Nigeria.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said over the past year of the campaign, the number of ODF LGAs in the country has increased from 16 in 2019 to 38 as at November 2020.
Adamu said additional six local government areas are in the process of being validated as ODF by the National Task Group on Sanitation.
He said the ministry was able to achieve the feat despite limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, and commended all partners for their contributions to the achievement.