Osinbajo inaugurates Clean Nigeria Steering Committee, FG intensifies efforts to contain COVID-19

Vice President Yemi Osinbsjo in his office during a virtual meeting

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday performed the virtual inauguration of the Steering Committee of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.”

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, in a statement, said the vice president is the chairman of the committee.

The virtual inauguration was anchored from the Presidential Villa.

The Federal Government is expanding access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities being one of Nigeria’s most effective weapons against infectious diseases as efforts are being ramped up to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the Federal Executive Council, states, local government areas, civil society ogranisations and the organised private sector.

“We are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time; as our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise that expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.

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“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19.

“This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector,” he said.

Osinbajo spoke on the progress made since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016.

He said that more local governments across the country had so far been certified as Open Defecation Free according to the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Protocol.

“The key objectives of this effort include the implementation of a campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

“This will involve mobilising support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners.”

The vice president said that the campaign on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria would create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda.

According to him, thecampaign will mobilise various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies.

He said mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learnt would be established.

On the terms of reference for the steering committee, Osinbajo said the group would meet bi-annually to, among other things, provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.

“The committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign.

“Facilitate maximum synergy between the Clean Nigeria Secretariat and other relevant government agencies including security and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders towards meeting the campaign objectives.

“Facilitate access of the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to technical and financial resources for effective implementation of the campaign.

“Receive and review progress reports of implementation of the campaign.

“Ensure that results of the campaign monitoring outcomes are well communicated to all stakeholders.’’

The vice president commended the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other partners.

He lauded them for their engagements towards achieving the campaign objectives as approved by the Federal Executive Council and in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for Water and Sanitisation.

Members of the committee include the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya and Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli.

Also in the committee are the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk,  Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mohammed Bello.

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mr Garba Abari, SSA to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire, Representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Representative of Organised Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH), Dr Nicholas Igwe.

Others are Representatives of Network of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Mr Benson Attah and Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr Emmanuel Awe.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Taoheed Amusan, is also a member of the committee.