Federal Government Urges Urgent Action as 48 Million Nigerians Still Practice Open Defecation

Despite a year left to the deadline to end open defecation in Nigeria, the Federal Government revealed that approximately 48 million Nigerians, representing 23 per cent of the population, still engage in the practice. This concerning revelation was made by the Minister of State for Environment, Ishaq Salako, during a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives Committees on Environment, Water Resources, Works, Ecological Funds, and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

In addition to the high number of individuals practicing open defecation, over 159 million Nigerians lack access to washing hands facilities, highlighting the urgent need for intervention. The Minister emphasized the necessity of building one million public toilets across the country’s six geo-political zones to address this challenge effectively.

Salako proposed the commemoration of the National Environmental Sanitation Day on June 28 every year to raise awareness of personal and environmental hygiene among Nigerians. He also called for increased mobilization of sanitary health inspectors and enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with sanitation laws and regulations.

Acknowledging the severity of the situation, the Speaker of the House, represented by the Minority Leader, highlighted the grave health risks posed by open defecation to millions of Nigerians. Urgent action is required from governments at all levels to address this menace and improve public health outcomes.

Furthermore, the Chief Sanitary Inspector advocated for the establishment of a National Environmental Sanitation Development Agency to coordinate sanitation efforts at the national level. This coordinated approach is essential to effectively combat open defecation and promote a hygienic environment for all Nigerians.

As part of the Ministry of Environment’s initiatives, a project is slated for implementation in 2024 to address open defecation through digital platforms for reporting environmental incidents. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to tackling the issue and improving sanitation standards across the country.


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