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Promoting Good Governance.

Buhari sets up agency to curb open defecation by 2025, urges lawmakers to penalise practice

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday has signed an executive order setting up an agency to ensure all public spaces have sanitary facilities and end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

The Executive Order 009, according to a press release signed by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, is titled The Open Defecation-Free Nigeria by 2025 and Other Related Matters Order, 2019, and is meant to show that Nigeria is committed to being open defecation-free in six years time.

The order, which takes effect immediately, charged that the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap developed by National Council on Water Resources in 2014 be implemented.

It also establishes under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources a “Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat”.

According to the executive order, the secretariat is authorised to, on behalf of the President, ensure “that all public places including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets and latrines within their premises”.

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It further instructed all ministries, departments, and agencies to cooperate with the secretariat, and urged the National Assembly and state lawmakers to make open defecation a crime punishable under the law.

“All development projects shall include construction of sanitation facilities as an integral part of the approval and implementation process,” it added. “The Secretariat shall terminate when Nigeria is declared Open Defecation Free.”

The press statement said the order became necessary considering that Nigeria “is ranked second amongst the nations in the world with the highest number of people practising open defecation estimated at over 46 million people – a practice which has had a negative effect on the populace, and has contributed to the country’s failure to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.

“President Buhari had described the statistics on open defecation and access to pipe-borne water service and sanitation as disturbing, and had declared commitment to implement the National Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Action Plan,” it added.

“The President had declared a State of Emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector, the action being imperative as it will reduce the high prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country which have caused preventable deaths.

“Nigeria has committed to end open defecation throughout the country by 2025 in consonance with her commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

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