As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Toilet Day, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed property development control regulators to make it mandatory for all buildings to include stable toilet facilities, especially for security guards to combat open defecation.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, at the flag-off of a campaign to tackle the snag, tagged ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’, in Abuja, he said, both public and private buildings should provide toilets, at least, to reduce the spread of diseases leading to the death of so many persons.
“Property development control regulators can also make it mandatory for buildings to include stable toilet facilities for staff such as security guards.
“To this extend, state and federal government should consider commonsense policy, measures so that enduring that construction sites are equipped with toilet facilities,” he said.
Quoting the World Bank report on the negative effect of open defecation, Buhari, said Nigeria losses over N450 billion annually due to the lack of sanitation and hygiene.
“The World Bank reports on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to unsanitary problem or shared toilets and open defecation estimates that Nigeria losses over N450 billion annually, with open defecation accounting for one-third of this amount.
“This cost include healthcare cost, loss of productivity, premature death, poor educational outcome amongst others. Or perhaps looking at the more dire cost of open defecation are those that can not be quantified in monetary terms. The social cost, loss of dignity, lack of privacy, increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence especially foe women and girls,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, revealed that the current status of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services showed that only 11 percent of the population has integrated access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“While 68%, 42% and 21% have access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services respectively; and an estimated 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation,” he said.
A problem, Chairman, Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi who doubles as Ekiti State governor, said he would encourage his colleagues to replicate the national action plan for the revitalization of the WASH sector in their respective states.
Represented by Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, he said: “I assure the Federal government of the commitment of the state governments to train and engage personnel to tackle open defecation. On behalf of the governors’ forum, we will do our best and collaborate with you to eradicate open defecation.”