As part of multi-level and integrated approach to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government says it is improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) said this on Thursday in Abuja at the virtual inauguration of the Steering Committee of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”.
The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the Federal Executive Council, states, local governments, civil society and the organized private sector.
“We are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time. As our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.
“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19.
“This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector,” he said in a statement by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President and emailed to Persecondnews.
On the progress made so far since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016, the Vice-President said more local government areas have been certified open defecation-free according to the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Protocol.
Osinbajo announced that going by the key objectives of the effort year 2025 has been set to end open defecation in the country.
He said: “This will involve mobilizing support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners.
“it will create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda.
“The campaign will mobilize various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies; we will also establish mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learnt.”
The Vice-President said the terms of reference for the steering committee which is expected to meet bi-annually among others is to provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the “Clean Nigeria Campaign’’.
According to him, the committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign.
Osinbajo, however, lauded the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other partners towards achieving the campaign objectives as approved by the Federal Executive Council and in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for Water and Sanitization.
Chaired by the Vice President, members of the committee include, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya and the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Water Resources, Mr Sada Soli.
Others are the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen.
Also in the committee are the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, DG, National Orientation Agency, Mr Garba Abari and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
The representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Organized Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH), Dr Nicholas Igwe, Network of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Mr Benson Attah; Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation (Federal Ministry of Water Resources), Mr Emmanuel Awe and the Special Assistant to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Taoheed Amusan.