It is my pleasure to welcome you to this meeting of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of this important global event- the 2022 World Toilet Summit. In a sense, the choice of Nigeria to host this historic event provides an opportunity for the global sanitation Community to focus attention on the gaps in our interventions in order to trigger additional commitments that will help us dent the dire statistics that has earned the country a worrisome status on the global sanitation league. I therefore want to particularly commend those that have contributed in various ways to the holding of this important meeting.
2. The choice of Nigeria as the host of the 2022 World Toilet Summit represents a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge because, it gives us an opportunity to host an event of a global magnitude with the concomitant demands. Obviously, this will require sacrifices and rigour sometimes beyond the call of duty but driven by the desire to excel and project the country positively. We should therefore see it as a privilege and opportunity to showcase the country in all its diversity and vibrancy. In this way, we will be helping to project a positive image of the country despite the negativity that has dominated the news recently. I am particularly delighted that the timing of the Summit coincides with a period the country is vigorously undertaking a nationwide Campaign to eliminate open defecation by 2025 through the robust implementation of a national campaign.
3. The Campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria was launched in November 2019 and tagged ‐ the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign. This was informed by Nigeria’s unfortunate position on the global ladder of countries with the highest number of persons practicing open defecation, estimated at 46 million persons. The Campaign is aimed at mobilizing high level political support, resources and the entire populace towards building a new culture of safe sanitation
4. While we acknowledge that Nigeria needs all the support it can get in ensuring the Campaign gains traction and with all stakeholders playing their roles, it is our expectation that the Summit and the sister World Toilet Day celebration will provide veritable platforms to trigger the mobilization of the Private Sector and other critical Stakeholders in partnering with the Government and other partners to resolve the open defecation challenge faced by the country on our journey to make the country open defecation free, a task which the government has committed substantial resources and effort.
5. Ladies and Gentlemen, as part of preparations towards a successful hosting of the event, the Organized Private Sector in WASH, facilitated a meeting between the Federal Ministry of Water Resources Team, Organizers of the World Toilet Organization and some members of the Planning Committee that organised the successful World Water Summit in Senegal held earlier in the year. It is hoped that the Committees will leverage the experiences of the Senegal event to ensure the successful planning the 2022 World Toilet Summit. There was also a meeting between the founder of the Summit, Jack Sim, the Chairperson, Co-Chair and OPS- WASH on 19th May, 2022 to define the roles and responsibilities of the parties and determine the potential benefits to Nigeria.
6. I congratulate you individually for being selected to join this LOC with the mandate to plan and prepare activities to ensure a successful hosting of the event. I urge you to see your membership as an opportunity to demonstrate patriotism and dedication in order not only to justify the confidence that was behind your selection, but also to ensure that the arrangements and outcome leave an enduring legacy of professionalism and excellence in the mind of the participants.
7. A website (www.wtsnigeria2022.com) has been opened by the organizers and we are encouraged to visit and be updated on the preparations for this Summit at the global level.
8. This meeting will therefore enable us to fine-tune the roles and Terms of Reference of each Sub-Committee. Shortly we shall be breaking into our Sub-Committees, where we will nominate the Chairs and Secretaries to pilot the affairs in each group based on the Terms of Reference.
9. Thank you for your attention and God bless us.