The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled a plan aimed at reducing the prevalence of open defecation in the country.
The plan was presented during a ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, which coincided with World Toilet Day 2023, under the theme “Accelerating Change.”
During the event, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, emphasized the importance of stakeholder engagement and collaboration in his speech. He highlighted the urgency of implementing initiatives that promote a healthier and cleaner environment.
Prof. Utsev expressed the ministry’s commitment to maximizing the social and economic benefits of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector. He discussed the development of a national WASH policy and a specific national sanitation marketing strategy aimed at advancing the supply side of the sanitation industry.
To attract investments, the minister revealed plans to identify bankable sanitation projects with diverse returns. These actions are intended to mitigate the risks associated with private investment in the sanitation subsector.
Prof. Utsev underscored the impact of improved access to sanitation services on citizens’ standard of living and overall quality of life. He highlighted the findings of a 2012 World Bank study, which estimated that poor sanitation practices cost Nigeria approximately N455 billion annually.
Furthermore, the minister emphasized the social consequences of inadequate sanitation, such as diminished privacy, dignity, and increased vulnerability to physical assault and violence, particularly affecting women and girls.
He concluded by stating that the comprehensive approach to addressing open defecation not only considers the economic implications but also emphasizes the broader social and public health imperative for a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous Nigeria.