House of Representatives has urged the ministries of Water Resources, Health and Environment to prioritize efforts on aggressive rural water and sanitation projects with a view to providing portable water and functional toilet facilities to achieve an Open Defecation Free (ODF) society.
The House also resolved to establish a Legislative Caucus in Nigeria to be at par with its sister legislative bodies in the Sub-Saharan African region with a view to bring together a diversity of shared knowledge and raise awareness on water and sanitation issues to create collective action on Open Defecation.
These followed the adoption of the resolutions of a motion of urgent importance on the need to address and tackle the challenges of ODF in Nigeria moved by Hon Sada Soli.
The House said Nigeria still tops the global league of countries with open defecation prevalence with an estimate of 47 million Nigerians indulging in the practice.
It also noted that there had been concerted efforts by the Federal and State Governments to curb the incidence of open defecation across the country.
The House said it was aware that as part of Government’s efforts to remove Nigeria from the unenviable world ranking in Open Defecation, President Muhammadu Buhari on 20th November, 2019 signed an Executive Order 009 titled: “Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025 and other related matters.”
The motion reads, “The House is also that there has been a call during the recent World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal for the United Nations to establish a global platform for water to bring together political and economic decision makers, multilateral institutions, academia, civil societies and the private sector to find solutions to water and sanitation issues.
“The House is further aware that legislative WASH Caucuses is now in vogue in many legislative bodies in the West Africa sub-region as part of roles parliamentarians play in developing laws and policies to improve grassroots awareness and access to potable water and sanitation with a view to eradicate the menace of Open Defecation.
“The House is disturbed that Nigeria is at the brink of becoming the number one country with the highest number of people in the world practicing Open Defecation.
“The House is worried that efforts in the past to address the situation had yielded minimal results and if there is no concrete effort all and sundry, Nigeria will not be able to meet the projected target of the Executive Order 009 by 2025.
“the House is also that according to United Nations Children’s Fund sanitation in Nigeria is very poor with vast majority of people in rural areas lacking decent toilets and latrines which estimates about 122,000 Nigerians including 87,000 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea, intestinal worm infections, cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and other preventable sanitation illnesses.
“The House is cognizant that if the current efforts are not improved upon, Nigeria may not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals No. 6 which intends to attain Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).”