Rallying All Stakeholders, FG Expanding Access To Water, Sanitation Facilities To Battle COVID-19, Infectious Diseases

*VP chairs, inaugurates Clean Nigeria Steering Committee

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As stakeholders ramp up efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government is expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities as one of Nigeria’s most effective weapons against infectious diseases, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the virtual inauguration of the Steering Committee of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”.

The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the Federal Executive Council, States, Local Government Areas, Civil Society and the organised private sector.

According to the Vice President, “we are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time. As our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.

“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19. This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector.”

Speaking on the progress made since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016, the Vice President said more LGAs across the country have so far been certified as Open Defecation Free according to the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Protocol.

Continuing, the Vice President noted that “the key objectives of this effort include the implementation of a campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

“This will involve mobilizing support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners.”

Speaking further on the importance of the campaign on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo said “it will create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda.

“The campaign will mobilize various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies; we will also establish mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learnt.”

Reading out the terms of reference for the steering committee, the Vice President said the group will meet bi-annually to amongst other things provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.

According to him, “the committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign.”

Other terms of reference include:

Facilitate maximum synergy between the Clean Nigeria Secretariat and other relevant government agencies including security and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders towards meeting the campaign objectives.

Facilitate access of the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to technical and financial resources for effective implementation of the campaign.

Receive and review progress reports of implementation of the campaign.

Ensure that results of the campaign monitoring outcomes are well communicated to all stakeholders.

Prof. Osinbajo commended the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other partners for the engagements towards achieving the campaign objectives as approved by the Federal Executive Council, and in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for Water and Sanitization.

Chaired by the Vice President, members of the committee include, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi Chairman; Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya and Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sada Soli.

Others are; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan; the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk; Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu; Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mohammed Bello; DG, National Orientation Agency, Mr Garba Abari; SSA to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire; Representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Representative of Organized Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH), Dr Nicholas Igwe; Representatives of Network of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Mr Benson Attah; Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation (Federal Ministry of Water Resources), Mr Emmanuel Awe and the Special Assistant to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Taoheed Amusan.

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