By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Federal Government says it will inaugurate the Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign on Nov. 19 as efforts toward achieving the national target of ending open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.
Mrs Chizoma Opara, the Acting Coordinator, Clean Nigeria said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
NAN reports that “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’’ campaign was approved by the Federal Executive Council on May 8, aimed to ensure all households are mobilised to provide their sanitation facilities.
According to Opara, President Muhammadu Buhari will perform the national inauguration and flag off of the campaign.
“In preparation of the inauguration, a date has been fixed and we have gotten confirmation from the State House that it is Nov. 19, at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja.
“ We are hoping that the date does not changed, as we are working towards that because that day happen to be World Toilet Day Celebration, so it will be a great opportunity to celebrate the campaign with that, ‘’she said.
The Acting Coordinator also said that in preparation of the inauguration of the campaign, the Minister of Water Recourses, Mr Sulieman Adamu has commenced an advocacy visits to state governors.
She said that the advocacy visits by the minister to state governors was to ensure that they buy in to the clean Nigerian campaign.
“ What the minister wants to do is to have the opportunity to engage with all the governors to get them to buy in to the clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.
“It is also to open up the statistics of the states with respect to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector, letting them know how the states are faring, within the country as a whole, ‘’she said.
Opara said that part of the advocacy visit by the minister was to ensure states knew their statistics in terms of open defecation.
“It is also to let them know that Nigeria being number two is about to taking up the number one position as the largest country with people defecating in the open.
“I hoped when state governors start seeing these figures on open defecation in their states, it will trigger them to take action and to say they need to stop open defecation.
“So, letters have been sent out to all governors to their states for the advocacy visits that have commenced in August and will end in October.
“The minister has also said that any governor who wishes to actually pay him a visit in his office in Abuja can also do so, which is what Kaduna and Nasararawa state governors have done when they were within the FCT, ‘’she said.
NAN also reports that the Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet campaign is aimed at mobilising high level political support, resources and populace toward building a new culture of safe defecation.
It is also to ensure relevant government institutions and the private sector must provide sanitation facilities in public places such as schools, healthcare centres, parks and markets to realise total coverage and sustainable access for the populace.