By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday, signed Executive Order 009 entitled, “The Open Defecation-Free Nigeria by 2025 and Other Related Matters Order.”
The order was necessitated by the recent ranking of Nigeria as second globally amongst countries with the highest number of people practicing 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);
The President stated by this Order, Nigeria is committed to being open defecation free by 2025.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, stated that the Executive Order takes effect from Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
The President directed that the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly shall enact legislation on the practice of open defecation with appropriate sanctions and penalties.
That the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap developed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources with support from other key sector players across Nigeria be put into effect, the order stated.
According to the order: “There is established in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources a National Secretariat called “Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat”.
The Secretariat is authorized on behalf of the President to implement the Order by ensuring 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.
All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government are mandated to cooperate with the Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat.
The executive order read: “All development projects shall include construction of sanitation facilities as an integral part of the approval and implementation process.
“The Secretariat shall terminate when Nigeria is declared Open Defecation Free.
All enforcement authorities are hereby directed to diligently collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in implementing this Order.
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;
The President had declared a State of Emergency on Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector, aimed at reducing the high prevalence of water borne diseases in different parts of the country which have caused preventable deaths.