President Buhari calls for collaboration to end open defecation

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By Hikmat Bamigboye, Abuja

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has called for private sector collaboration and intervention to eradicate open defecation in the country 2025.

He made the call at the 2022 World Toilet Summit, in Abuja the Nations Capital.

He said that ensuring that over 200 million Nigerians have access to decent and affordable toilet facilities could be achieved if there is synergy between the public and private sectors.

“Governments must acknowledge the role in providing the leadership to rally all other stakeholders contributes to improve and sustainable access to sanitation services, the development sector, the private sector, civil society, research institutions, media and other stakeholders especially to bring in technical expertise, finance and focusing on also by promoting innovative and scalable approaches towards strengthening systems for accelerated progress.” President Buhari said.

Speaking at the event, Founder, World Toilet Organisation, Dr Jack Sim, also called on the Nigerian Government to improve access to safe and attractive toilets, that will encourage use and end open defecation practice.

Sim said that the organisation has been working to advocate and break the taboo around toilets by bringing the sanitation crisis to the global media spotlight.

According to him there is need for a global movement involving governments, policy makers, UN agencies, international civil societies, and thought leaders to work together in addressing the sanitation crisis.

While commending the efforts of the Nigerian Government in hosting the summit, he however called for renewed collaboration.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, South Africa, Mr David Mahlobo, said Nigeria and South Africa shared a common history of colonialism and apartheid.

Mahlobo also said that, the UN has a huge responsibility to put the voice of water and sanitation on the global agenda.

He noted that issues of water and sanitation cannot be left behind in development, saying with population growth many efforts of government had not been felt with the exclusion of many.

“We are all calling for more funds and inclusion of the private sector, we are calling for action, solidarity to raise voices for sanitation as the SDGs approach in 2030. The WTO must remain the voice of the voiceless, and reduce their vulnerabilities,’’ Mahlobo said.

Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said the summit among others, is focused on improving collaboration among stakeholders around driving accelerated access to sustainable sanitation services.

Adamu said that it was an opportunity to mobilize investment to the sanitation sub-sector, and create an enabling environment for sanitation service delivery through private sector participation.

“The summit also seeks to provide the platform to share, learn and interact with diverse stakeholders on different sanitation sub-themes, and to afford opportunity to exhibit sanitation products and services.
This is a unique global platform in which stakeholders come together and devise means to address sanitation challenges and find solutions,’’ he said.

The Minister said that it is also a token of continuing efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6.

He stated that by 2030, countries must have achieved access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and primarily end open defecation.

Adamu explained that the summit was expected to bring about an African toilet revolution, that would contribute to accelerating the national campaign in Nigeria with extension across the continent.

The 2022 World Toilet Summit theme is , “Sustaining Sanitation Innovation for Economic Development”.

The summit was organized by the Nigerian Government, the Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) and the World Toilet Organisation.

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