Nigeria's population is huge and as much as that population is an asset to the nation, it also appears to be placing so much burden on the nation, as it is always not among top countries that meet the set goals of the United Nations. 

Now it is Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that all nations are chasing to meet before 2030.

It is a common thing to find human faeces in different locations even in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial city, and this is not something that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) expects from a nation that is chasing this SDGs.

It says Nigeria needs to construct not fewer than 3 million toilets annually if Africa's most populous nation would meet the SDGs to scale up sanitation and hygiene before 2030.

This was the focus of a National Meeting for Operationalising the Open Defecation-Free (ODF) Campaign Plan in Abuja on Thursday.

A UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Mr Farooq Khan, noted that the present deficit in toilets ought to be reversed, saying that if Nigeria would meet the SDG-six, it must increase budgets for sanitation.

He said that the goal of the ODF Nigeria National Campaign was for Nigeria to achieve its SDG targets on sanitation by eradicating open defecation first by 2025 and achieving Universal Access to Safely Managed Sanitation by 2030.

According to him, the strategic objectives of the Campaign is for the tiers of Government in all states to prioritise sanitation in its development agenda, through budgetary allocations and institutional framework.

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He added that this could be further strengthened through advocacy and media dissemination of key messages such as; “ Poor sanitation results in economic loss’,

“Sanitation is dignity and eradication of open defecation is feasible within limited resources’’.

Khan stressed that Nigeria ought to mandate relevant institutions to assign full time trained manpower to work on implementation of the National and State ODF campaigns.


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A representative from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources at the gathering, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said although some states have shown interest in scaling up progress on sanitation and hygiene, a large number of them have not begun implementation of the ODF protocol to meet national targets.

Awe said without an appropriate support from the Federal Government, the State Governments in Nigeria may delay in implementing their State ODF Plans in time, using only their own resources.

“It is ideal for the state to develop their State Sanitation Scale Up plan and implement such plan using their own resources but in reality state leadership often are not likely to comply, primarily because sanitation is not their priority, or they have other pressing issues to address.

“It should also be noted that the Federal Government is committed to achieving the SDG which Nigeria ratified on behalf her people. However, the states are under obligation to implement the ODF plan in line with FGN commitment.’’

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According to him, the political economy analysis of sanitation in Nigeria clearly indicates that poor sanitation and Open defecation is primarily the issue faced by the poorest poor.

Dr Garba Abari, Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), stressed the need to create mass scale demand for improved sanitation by changing the social norms on sanitation and hygiene.

He decried the dwindling culture of sanitation, saying this trend needed to be reversed.

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