Minister worries over inadequate toilets in public places

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He described as worrisome the culture of constructing houses, shops, public buildings without spaces for toilets and called for a change in such narratives.

Adamu said that there was need for behaviour change and culture to educate, stressing the importance of using toilets and the negative impact of poor sanitation on socioeconomic development.

“The issue of toilet is a personal issue. What we want is to have a behavioural change, and we want to encourage through building plans that people should construct toilets.

“You go to shops and plazas and you noticed that there is no toilet, which forces people to practice open defecation,” he said.

The minister said that the National Open Defecation Free Campaign being setup after the India model would target policy, coordination and funding options, among others to see how Nigeria could scale up sanitation and hygiene.

Mr Zaid Jurji, the Chief of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) of UNICEF commended efforts of the Federal Government in scaling up access to water and sanitation.

According to him, the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the WASH sector, showed that a momentum has been gathered already and sustained advocacy to all decision makers to make sanitation a priority is imperative.

He said that the role of behavioral change in hygiene and sanitation could not be overemphasised, adding that people ought to understand that they must use the toilets constructed.

He said that UNICEF had carried out capacity building on sanitation with emphasis on sanitation marketing, saying this was been carried out in partnership with the Microfinance Institutions and Toilet Business Owners.

Jurji said that the programme was being carried out in Katsina, Kaduna and Bauchi States to see how sanitation facilities would be made available and at a low cost toward making open defecation a thing of the past.

Dr Khairy Al-Jamaal, the Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist, World Bank said that the challenge of open defecation and safe management of sanitation “is an issue that calls for a shift of mindset’’.

He said that the revitalisation plan and development of an Action Plan on WASH was a welcome development and called for strengthened stakeholder’s collaboration and political will.

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Al-Jamaal said that the effects of poor sanitation cuts across health, society, economic, human capital, stressing that all tiers of government ought to have budget line for sanitation.

While pledging the commitment of the World Bank, the specialist said that now was the time to change the narrative of poor sanitation in the country. 

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