The Federal Government has said that the National Environment Policy, will help reduce the spread and outbreak of diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
It revealed that NEP would also address sanitation challenges, including open defecation and unhealthy disposal of sewage.
Ibrahim Jibril, The Minister of State for Environment made this known in Abuja on Tuesday during a ministerial briefing on the 2018 World Toilet Day, with the theme, ‘When Nature Calls.’
According to him, “The Federal Government is committed to addressing the sanitation challenges in Nigeria, including ending open defecation and ensuring proper management of excreta. This commitment is demonstrated by the President’s recent declaration of a State of Emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the country.
“Also, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with critical stakeholders is reviewing the National Environment Policy, including its policy guidelines on safe excreta and sewage disposal.
“The community-based waste management programme, as well as the Clean and Green Programme of the
ministry, are aimed, among others, at promoting the provision of safe and adequate toilets across the country, particularly in public places and ensuring proper excreta management.”
Jibril, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Leon Aliboh, observed that one major consequence of poor excreta disposal was a high rate of diarrhoea, which is the second cause of high rates of morbidity and mortality among children under the age of five.
“The persistent re-occurrence of cholera outbreaks in some of our states and the occurrence and reoccurrence of other excreta-related diseases are also manifestations of inadequate toilet facilities. Yet this could also be prevented through safe excreta disposal by every individual,” he added.
Jibril continued that access to sanitary facilities is still a mirage to a vast majority of citizens and urged civil society organisations to support the government in creating awareness on the need for proper sanitation and hygiene.
He said, “Today, 4.5 billion people in the world live without safe toilet and 892 million people still practice open defecation, as many people still use the bush and water bodies as their regular means for excreta disposal. Many institutions do not have sanitary facilities and where they exist, they are either not functioning well or are misused.
“I want to use this opportunity to solicit the support of the media, development partners, NGOs, CSOs, the organised private sector and indeed everyone for the sanitation programmes of my ministry.”