In its determination to improve sanitation and the quality of life of Nigerians, the Federal Government on 14th and 15th of March, 2019, in Abuja organized a National Stakeholders’ Retreat to end Open Defecation in Nigeria.

In his keynote address, the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu FNSE recalled that on 8th November 2018, President Buhari launched the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Action Plan and declared a state of emergency in the sectorwith a strong statement to end open defecation in the Country.

The Honourable Minister also recalled that in 2016, the Ministry launched a Roadmap to achieve Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025 and noted “only minimal progress has been achieved in the implementation of the Roadmap with only 10 LGAs across the country so far certified as Open Defecation Free according to the National Protocol”.

Engr. Adamu stated that the Ministry intends to utilize the report of study tour and learn from India Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission which has significantly reduced the number of people practicing open defecation in India from 550 million to less than 100 million to combat open defecation in Nigeria. “The action to end open defecation in Nigeria will require the contribution and commitment of everyone, government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners and the entire populace” he said.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Ekaro Comfort C. said that the overall goal of the National Retreat was to build a common understanding among stakeholders on the plans to end Open defecation in Nigeria by 2025 and receive the reports on the progress of the National Campaign to end Open Defecation and delegation to India to understudy the Swachh Bharat Mission.

In his goodwill message, the Chief of WASH; UNICEF, Zaidj Juri expressed happiness at the efforts of the Federal Government to end open defecation. He described the National Retreat as a milestone towards the achievement of some critical goals in the WASH sector in Nigeria, and pointed out that the country has all it requires to reverse the trend.

The high point of the retreat was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Rechett Benchister.

Participants at the National Retreat include Development Partners, Officials of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Civil Society Organizations, State Commissioners in the Water Sector and Private Sector Organizations.

Kenechukwu Offie (Mrs.)

Director Press & Public Relations Unit.

16th March, 2019

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