Nigerian Government to enact laws against open defecation practices

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By, Hikmat Bamigboye

Nigerian Government says it will support states to introduce a law to ban open defecation practices.

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, Said this at a Media Forum, with the theme, `Engage, Educate and Empower Nigerians on the Legacy Project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources’ in Abuja the Nations capital.

Mr Adamu said empowerment of laws against open defecation was necessary as part of the national campaign towards ending open defecation practice in Nigeria by 2025.

He stated that 83 Local Government Areas across the country are currently Open Defecation Free (ODF), adding that Jigawa State is set to be ODF.

He disclosed that 26 out of 27 LGAs in Jigawa are Open Defecation Free.

According to him, “So, what we are doing as far as we are concerned is to encourage the states to, as part of their campaign, provide some legislation against open defecation. There was a bill that was presented by a senator in the National Assembly, who wanted it to be a national law, it is still pending before the National Assembly” the Minister said.

Adamu said the proposed Inter-Basin Water Transfer from Congo River into Lake Chad was possible, but expensive, therefore it will require more consultations.

He also said that massive interventions which are ongoing in the basin had been largely impacted by effects of climate change adding that no fewer than 40 million people depend on the natural resources of Lake Chad.

Adamu noted that it was crucial as environmental challenges like silting, new flood plains due to climate change, were affecting the lake adding that Nigeria was currently working to improve the hydraulicity of River Chari and Logone through dredging and improvement of the river banks.

The minister stressed that over 15 million Nigerians now have access to improved water supply since the inception of the present administration.

He added that the Federal Government has put in place various incentives and measures to encourage states across the Federation to give priority attention to the provision of water to the citizenry.

Adamu further noted that the States need to scale up their political will and support to deliver their mandate on water supply and sanitation.

“We need the States to invest more in WASH. The Federal Government has provided all the groundwork, WASH Action Plan, direct interventions for urban and rural water supply in States”, Adamu said.

Adamu maintained that it is not the statutory responsibility of the Federal Government to provide water supply in various States.

“The responsibility for the provision of water is more or less 90 per cent of the States, not the Federal Government.
It is the business of States and State Water Agencies to provide water for the people,” the minister said.

The minister however said that the Federal Government would continue to advocate for Nigerians to build and use their toilets.

He noted the purview of the states to enact the legislation, noting that local government councils could also have bye-laws that would address the menace.

He emphasized the need for renewed partnerships between states and the federal government towards improving the water and sanitation needs of the populace.