Why states must key into open defecation-free campaign
What we are saying is that the key to the success of this open defecation campaign is with how much state actors are willing to prioritise it to give it all the political support.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, says for Nigeria to make progress in the open defecation-free (ODF) campaign, states must key into the process and show more political will.
Adamu, who spoke at the ongoing Nigeria Media Water Week in Abuja on Tuesday, said it is worrisome that only few states have inaugurated their roadmap towards ending the open defecation practice.
According to him, whatever policy that the Federal Government is doing is not meant for it alone, but for the states and the entire nation.
“State governments need to key into these programmes. What we are saying is that the key to the success of this open defecation campaign is with how much state actors are willing to prioritise it to give it all the political support that it is getting at the national level.
“If the political will at the national level is similarly obtained at the state level, I think we can quickly get rid of this problem, but if we at the national level are driving a programme and it is not getting the same push at the state and local government levels, then that is a huge challenge’’.
He said the entire ODF campaign is hinged on advocacy and behaviour change for everyone to build and use their toilets, saying the Federal government would continue to pass that message with the state governments.
The minister noted that annually, the ministry, in partnership with the development partners, brings out the Water, Sanitation Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) survey to ensure that progress is made to improve WASH in parts of the country.
“We are monitoring how much states have fared in terms of improving access to potable water and toilets, handwashing and we share it with the states.
“I believe that at some point, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) may come on board, naming and shaming activities may begin to unfold just the same way it is happening in India.
“Kids were given whistles, if they fund anyone defecating openly, they would blow the whistles and harass them to stop, that was how the ODF was achieved’’.
Adamu added that the ministry had inherited 116 ongoing and abandoned projects, with some lacking funding, and those not viable were dropped and others prioritised to be completed in stages.
The ministry said since 2015, it had pursued the goal of completing the many inherited hydropower projects across the country and had recorded successes in this direction, explaining it is not privatising its dams, rather some of the facilities are on concession, particularly those for power generation.
Also, Adamu outlined nine completed and ongoing hydropower projects being prepared to add 2,672 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, consisting of nine projects located in five states including Kaduna, Taraba, Gombe, Benue and Nasarawa.
They include the 30MW Gurara I hydropower project in Kaduna, completed and put on concession; 360MW Gurara II plant, also in Kaduna, with its engineering, procurement and construction contract already awarded.
Others are the Kashimbila, Dadin-Kowa and Itisi hydropower projects with capacities for 40MW each and located in Taraba, Gombe and Kaduna states respectively.
The government said both the Kashimbila and Dadin-Kowa hydropower projects had been completed and are ready for concession, while a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed on the Itisi project.
It said three other hydropower projects, namely, Bawarku, 182MW; Makurdi, 1,500MW; and Katsina-Ala, 460MW, are all located in Benue State.