As part of efforts towards putting an end to open defecation in the country, the Honourable Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has assured that his Ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other stakeholders in line with the commitment of the *”Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet”* campaign launched by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration in 2019.
The Minister gave the assurance today in his office in Abuja, when the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu paid him a courtesy visit.
Dare stated that Nigeria is ranked second among the nations in the world with the highest number of people practicing open defecation estimated at over 48 million, adding that the practice has had a negative effect on the populace and has therefore contributed to the country’s inability to meet up with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He stated further that the abysmal ranking prompted Mr. President to describe the statistics on open defecation and access to pipeborne water services and sanitation as disturbing, thus declaring his commitment to implementing the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Action Plan in consonance with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Charter.
To achieve this policy objective therefore, Dare informed that his Ministry in 2021 held a nationwide Sensitization programme tagged, “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” Campaign which was carried out through lectures/training, distribution of posters, installation of Bill boards/advertisements to educate Nigerians on the negative effects of open defecation across the six geopolitical zones, with youth as vanguards to help drive the campaign further.
Dare who identified the teeming Nigerian Youth as central to the realization of any policy objective of government, assured that his Ministry will partner with the Water Resources Ministry through the NYSC Scheme to further drive the policy objective using advocacy programmes.
Earlier, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu stated that he was in the Ministry to seek collaborations on how to end open defecation in the country.
He called on all levels of government to continue to promote and priotise disease control and prevention through adequate and equitable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services so as to curtail the spread of diseases while focusing on hygiene behaviour change interventions.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, called for collective approach in the fight against open defecation through Sensitization, advocacy and public enlightenment across the country.
Also speaking, the Acting Director General, National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) Mrs. Christy Uba, pledged the total commitment of the Scheme to the campaign with a view to ensuring the realization of the policy objective on open defecation.