The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu on Sunday called on states to enact bye-laws to ban open defecation in the country.
Adamu, who made the call at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, said the call became necessary following continuous practice of open defecation in parts of the country.
He said that it was a matter for regret that Nigeria is the second largest country after India with over 66 million of its population defecating in the open.
According to him, when this law becomes operational, it will check the practice, fine offenders and also encourage people to construct and use their toilets.
He said that Nigeria had developed a Roadmap and Action Plan to reposition the water and sanitation sector, saying there was a pledge to end open defecation by 2025, before the end of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“One of the key issues we are asking the states to do is to put up a legislation to ban open defecation, state governments must look at their building codes to enforce the need for people to build toilets, the appropriate kinds of toilets in their houses; there must be more public toilets, public buildings should be able to open up toilet facilities for people, this is what is happening all over the world.
“We are lucky to have engaged the wife of the president on this because we need champions to help us campaign against open defecation and she has accepted to lead the campaigns along with wives of state governors.
“I am sure very soon, you will begin to hear us making waves in all of our campaigns, our communication strategies has been in place, and they are trying to mobilise the country against open defecation.’’
Adamu said that the campaign for ending open defecation could not be run under a ministerial department alone, calling for priority of attention to be given to it just like ending Polio and HIV and AIDS.
He added that the ministry would encourage water and sanitation enterprises to encourage private sector investment in toilet business.
He said that there was the need for all water supply component construction to have a sanitation component, adding that this would go a long way to promote hygiene and end open defecation.
A projection of the Joint Monitoring Progress Report 2015 and MICS 2017 data revealed that Nigeria is unlikely to achieve the target of completely eradicating open defecation by 2025 and universal use of safe sanitation by 2030.
According to a World Bank 2012 Report, about 122,000 Nigerians including 87,000 children under-five years die annually from diarrhea, nearly 90 per cent being directly attributed to water, sanitation and hygiene.(NAN)