Inauguration Of Members Of Steering Committee On “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign”

It is with great pride that we announce that our National Coordinator, Dr. Nicholas Igwe, has officially been inaugurated into the Steering Committee for the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign’, chaired by His Excellency, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN.

The twenty-four man committee comprises of seventeen Honorable Ministers, representatives of the National Assembly Committees on Water Resources, The Head of Service of the Federation, the Development Partners, Civil Society and The Private Sector, which OPS-WASH will be representing. 

Although Nigeria currently has highest number of open defecation practices in the world, it stands out as one of the few countries taking bold and effective steps toward ending open defecation. If we look at the advocacy created by Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) and their encouragement for a multi-stakeholder approach which subsequently activates the mutual accountability mechanism, it is evident that Nigeria is putting this into action. The inauguration of this committee has essentially placed a spotlight on the country as it is highlighted as a country with strong leadership in the WASH sector. 

To this extent, acknowledgement must be given to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Since the 2018 declaration of a State of Emergency in the WASH Sector there have been a catapult of positive events, ultimately leading to the formation of this strong twenty-four-man committee, led by His Excellency, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbayo SAN. We expect that greater coordination will commence in the sector and that the 2025 target to end open defecation will be reached. 

With regard to the 2025 ODF (Open Defecation Free) campaign, OPS-WASH has created its own unique private sector implementation strategy, to fund the initiative. In the past, rallying financial institutions to engage in the WASH sector proved challenging, however OPS-WASH’s recent partnership with United Capital, Unified Payments and Michelle and Anthony Consulting (MAC) is about to change that reality in the Nigerian context. 

Under the OPS-WASH financial institutions unit and with the assistance of the aforementioned institutions, greater cohesion has been formed pertaining to the mobilization of two (2) million Nigerians in Diaspora to ‘adopt’ a household by funding one toilet per household adopted. Unified Payments will be coordinating simple and reliable means to collect funds from individuals, while liaising with United Capital and MAC. Thus far, an implementation committee and a marketing committee have been set up, with representatives from NIDCOM, including Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa herself, key directors from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and others.

While the committees are working tirelessly to ensure that the OPS-WASH: End Open Defecation Project is completed in a seamless manner, the OPS-WASH Technology and Innovations Unit is looking at the most sustainable options concerning sanitation in Nigeria. 

Dr. Nicholas Igwe is adamant that in providing toilet facilities, we must look further as to how fecal waste is managed. As it stands, Nigeria has not yet been able to conjure fully functioning sewage treatment systems and the consequences of this pose dire health risks for all, since fecal matter essentially ends up back into our drinking water. He has stated that technologies are already in existence, that can turn fecal matter into biogas, biosoldis and other useful materials, which in turn can create revenue and jobs. The implementation of toilets is only one facet of relieving the WASH challenges in Nigeria, we must utilize all resources possible to subsequently create a sanitation economy.

As is evident from the above, Nigeria is experiencing unprecedented collaboration of all sectors and industries, all of which are targeted at resolving the current WASH emergencies in Nigeria. At all levels, creative means are being deployed to bridge the financial, efficiency and sustainability gaps in the sector. OPS-WASH prides itself as being ‘one body, with one goal’. It seems however that we have now evolved to ‘one country with one goal’, and that is to ensure adequate and equal access to the most basic human right.

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