Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to address the open defecation challenge in the country, is to launch the Clean Nigeria Campaign as part of the campaign to end open defecation in the country by 2025.
The campaign “Clean Nigeria, Use The Toilet,” is to be launched at a date yet to be announced.
Nigeria still has 47 million people defecating openly, while only 10 out of 774 local government areas are now open defecation free since the road map on sanitation 2016-2025 was launched by President Buhari.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu, said this while briefing alongside his colleagues Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Federal Capital Territory, Bello Mohammed, after the 10-hour meeting presided over by Buhari.
The President had in November 2018 launched National Action Plan for Revitalizing the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), where he also declared a state of emergency on water and sanitation sector in Nigeria. An important aspect of the plan is for Nigeria to be open defecation free.
The National Plan of Action is a significant political milestone towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 to reach everyone, everywhere with clean water and decent sanitation by 2030.
Adamu said Nigeria has developed a road map to end open defecation 2016-2025, adding that out of the 774 local government areas, only 10 are open defecation free.
“Ten out of 774 local governments is very dismal but it is work in progress. But we have also made some progress as 20 to 21,000 communities in the country today are open defecation free. The problem is we still have 47 million people practicing open defecation and Nigeria has been moving up the ladder since 2012 from being number four or five in the world to having the ranking of number two. India is number one but India has been working to end open defecation, in the last four years they have taken over 500 million out of open defecation. And India plans to declare itself open defecation free by October 2019. Once that happens, Nigeria will become the number one country in the world that practices open defecation. You will all agree with me that this is an honour we do not want to have.
“So council approved a number of measures including the fact that Mr. President will launch the Clean Nigeria Campaign on a day to be decided. So our campaign is ‘clean Nigeria, use the toilet.’
“The president and cabinet members are to become ambassadors of clean Nigeria campaign by providing the needed leadership and commitment for successful implementation of the campaign.
“We also hope to create a clean Nigeria movement and to harmonize ministerial activities so that we have a seamless approach regarding sanitization in the country.
“We are also requesting for annual budget of N10.6 billion to be approved, this is not money that will be taken out of budget alone, we will also have contributions from development partners, corporate world including leveraging on corporate social responsibility, grants and to mobilize Nollywood, youths, children, women etc.
“It will come with an executive order to give effect to the clean Nigeria campaign. All ministries are to establish specific budget lines and work plans to implementing their sector specific activities to end open defecation and improve sanitation in the country.
“The campaign will also involved state governments and households. We intend to use community led sanitation and hinging more on behavioural change rather than doling out money.”
Kachikwu said the council also approved two memos for Ministry of Petroleum. It approved fire service trucks at the cost of N420 million inclusive five percent VAT for Nigerian Content Monitoring Board (NCMB) 17 floors building headquarters in Bayelsa.
Council also approved for the NNPC to provide a pipeline installation to move dry gas through the North-South joint corridors to the West corridor operated by Shell and Seplant, about 30 kilometers at the cost of N2.5 billion (naira component) and $32 million (dollar component) at the completion period of 18 months.
“The significance of that is that the more we can gather gas to feedstock the pipelines that were built, the easier it will be to create that hop we are looking for to move gas around the corridors of Nigeria, north, south, east and west as the case maybe.”
FCT minister Bello said the council also approved the contract for the construction of secondary road in Kwali FCT at the sum of N1.8 billion for a period of 15 months.
The council also approved the purchase of heavy duty equipment to pull down buildings that contravene the Abuja master plan at N147 million.
The council approved four water tankers for FCT Fire Service at the sum of N725 million.
Bello added that the council approved a contract for the phase 2 of the Pategi water project in Kwara state at the cost of N3.2 billion.
The finance minister, Ahmed, said the council approved a contract for the procurement of communication gadgets for the Nigeria Customs Service at the cost of N247.9 million to be delivered in eight weeks.
“The gadgets are necessary to enable Nigeria customs enhanced its end to end encryption of messages delivery to avoid tapping by unscrupulous smugglers and their cohosts. The need has become necessary because of the renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Customs Service on smuggling as well as other economic activity.”
It approved the acquisition of residential accommodation for the staff of Nigerian Customs Service, an estate of 42 flats at N152 million per block of six units. The total sum approved is N970.2 million inclusive of VAT.
It also approved contract sum of N710 million for the automation project called ‘Light House,’ a data warehousing system that integrates different relevant tax data for the purpose of accurate and effective revenue assessment, as well as for the determination of assets and income status for both corporate and individual tax payers. It will help aggregate, centralized and analyse nationwide tax paying data information using big data analytics. It will help the government have 360 degrees view of tax situation of any tax payer and will determine whether a tax payer is compliant or not. It will help improve on tax revenue collection efforts both at federal and state levels.
Meanwhile, as the May 29 inauguration date draws closer, a presidential source has disclosed that the meetings have been loaded with a lot of memos requiring lengthy sessions that last into the night every week.
The source said the meeting lasted into the night in other to dedicate time to clear all outstanding memoes presented by members of the cabinet.
”There is nothing special. You know that there will be only two more FEC meetings before the inauguration date, so we want to clear the outstandings.”
The meeting ended at 9:30pm.