FG addresses open defecation and encourages states to allocate funds to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector even as some citizens’ bad habits threatens to mess the new vigorous campaign to attain SDG 6 Agenda 2030.
As the world’s governments gathered in New York at the UN High Level Political Forum from July 9 to 18, 2018 to undertake the First global review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Nigeria had the opportunity to highlight her bold and courageous efforts to raise the gear to her water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. As part of the review of the SDG 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), WaterAid had facilitated an informal breakfast dialogue on the margins of the UN forum to catalyse similar attention from other governments. Suleiman Hussein Adamu, Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, was expected to attend this informal dialogue, undoubtedly a significant moment to engage the UN delegations of Nigeria and neighbouring governments, along with donors and relevant civil society, towards urgent WASH action in the context of the achievement of its 2030 Agenda. The HLPF offered the opportunity to connect representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria with bilateral and other donors who might consider supporting this initiative, as well as with representatives of the Indian government which had reportedly achieved significant success in this area. At the suggestion of WaterAid India and the UN Resident Coordinator in India, the Permanent Mission of India had been invited to join the dialogue. To attain SDG 6 by 2030, WaterAid Nigeria had said the Nigerian government must prioritise clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene for people across the country. “Without water, decent sanitation and good hygiene, other SDGs, including those on health, nutrition, education, gender equality and reducing inequalities cannot be achieved,” the organization added. An interesting highlight in that forum was the N30 billion fund recently proposed by Nigeria’s Water Resources Ministry to address two salient issues – open defecation in the country and to encourage state governments to commit budgetary allocations for sanitation and hygiene. this remains key because in spite of the aspiration and advocacy that had brought about considerable progress in the attainment of the Open Defecation Free status by many local government areas in the country specially in CRS, there is still a high propensity for defaulting or noncompliance of the newly introduced living standard. Virtually every village or rural community in the state now has a Water, Sanitation and Health Committee (WASHCOM) and these new civil organs have gone ahead to enforce the construction and proper management of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Toilets or similar pit latrines.
Yet, as the saying goes, bad habits die hard. Many a number of citizens still find it more convenient to have handy, assorted papers (tissue papers, paper serviettes, torn pages of old exercise books, newspapers and magazines, receipt books, bank tellers and tax papers) for the purpose of cleaning up after depositing human waste in for environments. Commercial vehicle drivers, keke operators and commercial cyclists appear to constitute the biggest band of culprits in this regard. this is irrespective of the fact that every modern motor park and market in this country has a public toilet and urinary located within it. Like some of their occasionally pressed and stomach harried passengers, many indecent operators and their conductors have refused to abandon the insanitary habit of virtually diving into low bushes and forests or some green areas and open Fields to answer nature’s call, as they ferociously grab at virtually any leaf or shrub on their pooing escapades. Perhaps, as part of its WASH sector’s state of emergency, the FG should engage the other tiers of government and traditional authorities, as well as local and international NGOs to launch a more intensive advocacy to enhance the anti-open defecation campaign. The Federal Government of Nigeria had in April, 2018, declared a state of emergency in its WASH sector. This underlined urgency of WASH action in Nigeria is expected to encompass an 18-month period and usher in a 13-year revitalisation strategy for the country’s WASH sector. According to an online medium, EnviroNews, “WaterAid Nigeria campaigned for and commended this step, calling on the Federal
“Perhaps, as part of its WASH sector’s state of emergency, the FG should engage the other tiers of government and traditional authorities, as well as local and international NGOs to launch a more intensive advocacy to enhance the anti-open defecation campaign.”
Government to complement this declaration with significant investment and financing needed to deliver on providing water and sanitation for all Nigerians.” Statistics quoted by the medium showed that “Across the world 844 million people still do not have access to clean water and one in three people still live without adequate sanitation facilities. In Nigeria alone, 33% of people are currently living without basic access to water, while 67% of people do not have a decent toilet. “On current progress, the promise to bring safe water and toilets to everyone by 2030 will not be met. While Nigeria is on course to have universal access to clean water by 2039, the percentage of the population with access to a decent toilet is dropping.
“Without access to these basic amenities, men, women and children in Nigeria will remain trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease, while being denied their basic human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, WaterAid warns. “WaterAid Nigeria says urgent action to finance water and sanitation, to integrate it with efforts on health, nutrition and other related development, and to make progress sustainable is essential to reach everyone, everywhere. Faster progress on all three will save lives, boost development and change the lives of billions of people living in extreme poverty globally. For every $1 spent on water and sanitation, on average $4 is returned in economic benefits.” ‘Dr ChiChi Aniagolu- Okoye, Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, said: “We are at a critical juncture in the ought to get clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene to the people of Nigeria and across the world. Our Government must complement this state of emergency declaration with significant investment and financing needed to deliver on providing water and sanitation for all Nigerians. “We know that if everyone, everywhere was able to access clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, then we could help end the scourge of extreme poverty and create a more sustainable future. But we have to act now to make this a reality. The Nigerian government must prioritise water, sanitation and hygiene – the basic building blocks of any prosperous community – ensuring proper financing is put in place to build a more sustainable country today and for future generations. The people of Nigeria will be watching.”