Taiwo Adewole, the Chief Executive Officer of Taiwo Adewole and Associates has urged the Federal Government to collaborate with Local Governments on its “Clean Nigeria Campaign’’.
Adewole told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos that the idea by the federal government to stop open defecation through the ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign’ was a welcome development.
He said that the collaboration was necessary as the local governments were closer to the people and should ordinarily manage such projects.
According to him, most public conveniences in the country, especially in Lagos State, are commercialised, and people have to pay to make use of them.
He said: “Some of these toilets have even been converted to shops and warehouses, while some have become homes/hideouts for miscreants.
“It is better the federal government works with the local governments to site and operate the public toilets.
“The federal government should also work with Non-Governmental Organisations and the National Orientation Agency to handle public enlightenment and publicity issues.
‘“To operate such public toilets, a regular supply of water is paramount for their maintenance to be sustainable.’’
Adewole said that adequate security was also needed, because most people find it difficult to make use of unsafe places and many are not even willing to patronize public conveniences.
He urged that government should make it mandatory for commercial places such as shopping malls, filling stations, markets, schools, among others, to have good quality toilets to serve the public.
The environmentalist said that the funds for the project must be spent judiciously, to ensure that modern toilet facilities are developed nationwide.
He said that based on research, public conveniences were needed nationwide, most especially in the rural areas.
NAN reports that the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, May 8 approved the inauguration of the `Clean Nigeria Campaign’ with the slogan; “Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilets,’’ as part of efforts toward making Nigeria Open Defecation-Free by 2025.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, announced while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting.
Adamu disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would perform the inaugural ceremony of the campaign on a date to be decided by the government.
He revealed that the council also approved an annual budget of 10.6billion for the smooth implementation of the campaign, saying that the funds would be sourced from budgetary allocations and grants from development partners.
According to him, the campaign has become necessary in view of the fact that only 10 out of the 774 local governments are open defecation- free.
He said: “Ten out of 774 local governments is very decimal, but it is work in progress; we also made some progress in that at least 20, 000/21, 000 communities in the country are open defecation-free.
“But the problem is that we still have 47million people that are practicing open defecation and Nigeria has been moving up the ladder since 2012 from being number four or five in the world to the rank of number two.
“India is number one but India has been working for the past four years to end open defecation in the country.
“In the last four years, they have moved over 500million people out of open defecation and India plans to declare itself open defecation-free by October 2, 2019.
“Once that happens, Nigeria will be the number one country in the world that practices open defecation and you would all agree with me that this is an honour we do not want to have.”