Ahead of the 2018 world toilet day celebration, the federal government has raised the alarm over absence of sanitary facilities in government and private institutions, adding that they were either misused or malfunctioned where available.
The minister of state environment, Mallam Usman Jibril, stated this in Abuja yesterday while briefing newsmen on the upcoming event with the theme: ‘When Nature Calls’.
He stated that 4.5 billion people worldwide live without safe toilet, while 892 million people still practice open defecation by using the bush as well as water bodies as their regular means for disposing excreta.
In view of the shortfall, he disclosed that federal government was committed to addressing the sanitation challenges including ending open defecation in the country and ensuring proper management of excreta.
This he said, is reflected by President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent declaration of state of emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the country stressing that the ministry in collaboration with stakeholders was reviewing the national environmental sanitation policy guidelines on safe excreta and sewage disposal.
The event scheduled to take place on November 18, is targeted at raising awareness on the need to tackle global sanitation crisis, ending open defecation and promoting access to toilets for all.
The minister hinted that the community- based waste management programme likewise the clean and green programme of the ministry was aimed at promoting the provision of safe and adequate toilets across the states particularly in public places.
Jibril recalled that the just – concluded 12th National Council on Environment (NCE) recently held in Akure, Ondo State directed the ministry to develop a national policy for the declaration of national emergency on open defecation.
He however challenged stakeholders on environment at the national, state and local government levels to take practical steps and actions to ensure that Nigerians have access to eco-friendly sanitary facilities.