Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that even as the Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) regime remains committed to the delivery of sustainable sanitation and hygiene services to all Nigerians, effective collaboration among all levels of government and the private sector will ensure the country achieves its goal to end open defecation by 2025.
Osinbajo stated this on Thursday at the virtual meeting of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Steering Committee to review the progress report of the implementation of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign under the national programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Why We Are Committed To Sustainable Sanitation, Hygiene For All Nigerians – Osinbajo’.
Speaking at the virtual meeting of the committee, its first this year, the Vice President stated that “If we work conscientiously, we can really make our country open defecation-free by 2025.
“It is entirely possible, and we must not rest on our laurels as we push for the delivery of sustainable sanitation and hygiene services for all Nigerians.
“We are at the cusp of real acceleration if we seize the current momentum. So, it is time to align our efforts at all levels and commit ourselves to use all of our spheres of influence in advancing the objectives of the campaign.”
While commending the progress recorded so far in the campaign, the Vice President noted that more needs to be done to ensure all the goals and objectives are achieved.
The Vice President commended the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, and his team “for their commitment and hard work, and the effective coordination of the several programmes.”
Osinbajo further said that the National Economic Council would continue to find ways to work with state governments to improve results, noting that “there is a great need for us to engage even more with the states.”
He also expressed the need to engage more with the private sector in meeting the objectives of the campaign, while noting that, so far, the input of civil society organisations, the private sector, development partners and the media had been invaluable.
During his presentation, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, stated that there had been a surge in the number of states that had launched their state campaigns from 19 in 2020, to 36 in 2021.
The minister also noted that between January and May 2021, an additional 33 LGAs had achieved Open Defecation-Free status, while an estimated 15 million persons across the 774 LGAs nationwide had been reached with key campaign messages, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency.
The virtual meeting was attended by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan; the National Coordinator, Organised Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Dr. Nicholas Igwe; UNICEF’s Chief of WASH Nigeria, Jane Bevan; the World Bank representative, its operations Manager, Kathy Whimp, among others