By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote has identified open defecation as a malaise responsible for high morbidity and mortality amongst children under the age of five.
At a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja to herald the 2019 National Environmental Sanitation Day, the Permanent Secretary said that access to sanitary facilities remains a mirage to a vast majority of citizens as 4.5 billion people of the world today live without safe toilets while 892 million people still practice open defecation.
Represented by the Director, Special Duties of the Ministry, Alhaji Mohammed Yakubu, the Permanent Secretary said this year’s environmental sanitation day theme “Stop Open Defecation for Healthy Living” calls for concerted effort, strengthened and all inclusive approach to tackle the problem.
Yakubu said” the essence of declaring the 28th June, 2019 as the National Environmental Sanitation Day is to institionalize sound environmental sanitation practices as a lifestyle amongst the populace through massive awareness and creation and reward for innovative best practices in environmental sanitation among others”.
She said that the ministry has embarked on some measures to promote Clean and Safe Environment.
This includes developing National Policy on stopping Open Defecation and setting up a Sanitation Desk in the 36 states of the Federation and FCT to enable the government establish an Environmental Health and Sanitation Surveillance system.
In addition he said, “the Federal Ministry of Environment has commenced sanitary inspection if all Federal Government establishment including federal government schools, ministries, parastals, agencies, military and paramilitary barracks; public places such as petrol station, abattoir, motor packs, market and regulated food premises”.
“I want to use this opportunity to solicit surport of the Development partners, NGOs, and organized private sectors for sanitation program of my ministry as the problem can not be solved by one actor alone.
The PS disclosed that a Sanitary facility comprising of 3 male toilets, 3 female toilets and 6 places for passing urine will be commissioned at Karu International Market, Nasarawa State.