Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the loss of lives and billions of Naira to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases as a result of inadequate basic water supply and sanitation services is huge.
Osinbajo disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the official roll out of the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign under the national programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria.
He stated that poor sanitation practices should be brought to an end by an active collaboration between States and the Federal Government.
The event was attended by several governors and their representatives, ministers and market women, amongst others.
The Vice President said, “…we all must redouble our efforts and work together in order to meet the nation’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene needs.”
“As a nation, we simply cannot afford the huge costs including fatalities caused by preventable water and sanitation-related diseases as a result of inadequate WASH services. In contributing to the government’s efforts, citizens must take action to avoid open defecation.
“There is no need to debate the point that sanitation is a major public health issue and that poor sanitation adversely impacts us all.
“The World Bank report on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to use of unsanitary or shared toilets and open defecation, estimates that Nigeria loses N455 billion annually, with open defecation accounting for a third of this amount. These costs include health care, loss of productivity, premature deaths, poor educational outcomes, among others.
“But perhaps some of the more dire costs of open defecation are those that cannot be quantified in monetary terms, the social costs, loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence especially for women and girls.”
The vice president was also quoted in a statement issued on Tuesday by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, as saying that the goal of putting an end to open defecation in Nigeria was a shared responsibility.
“As the President said during the launch of the National Action Plan last year, Federal Government’s support to States will be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective states and to end open defecation by 2025.
“It is our expectation that this national launch will trigger State and LGA level launches leading to mass mobilization of all Nigerians,” Osinbajo noted.
Earlier in his remark, the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu commended the collaboration with state governors and development partners in Nigeria’s quest to end open defecation by 2025.
He reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to actualize the target of ending open defecation across the country by 2025.