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Organised private sector says Diaspora to construct 500 public toilets

The Organised Private Sector in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH) says Nigerians in the Diaspora would construct 500 public toilets.

This is to support the Federal Government’s efforts to end open defecation practice before 2025.

National Coordinator of OPS-WASH, Dr Nicholas Igwe, stated this in Abuja while briefing the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, on progress made in the campaign to end open defecation in the country.

Igwe said that the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission was spearheading the efforts to bring relevant stakeholders in to actualise the target.

He added that the project was initiated by a Nigerian international footballer, Odion Ighalo, to build toilets.

He said that the OPS-WASH has categorised its financial strategies under a few pillars of Nigerians in Diaspora, known as the ‘Blue Bond’ through Financial Institutions to help in sanitation financing and telecommunications organisations amongst others.

Igwe said the group has set out to introduce a tax credit scheme to ‘Executive Order 009’ as a potential and mutually beneficial source of financing for the sector, for companies and organisations.

He added that Nigerian movie star, Mrs Stephanie Okereke-Linus, has also committed to creating public awareness and the sensitisation of Nigerians on the need for a safer and hygienic environment.

Igwe said the partnership with the movie star would entail the production of the ‘Clean and Beautify’ TV Show that would showcase the importance of an open defecation-free society.

Adamu expressed appreciation for the support and commitment by the organised private sector in changing the narrative.

The minister pledged that the Federal Government would support all individuals and groups poised to eliminate the menace of open defecation across the country.

He said that the open defecation has negative impacts on the environment and health, with people generally defecating near water sources, contaminating water bodies.

A desk study carried out by the Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) revealed that poor sanitation costs Nigeria N455 billion each year, equivalent to $3 billion.

This is due to losses in education, productivity, time, tourism as well as the financial tolls incurred as a result of death and disease.

This also means that many Nigerians actually end up consuming contaminated water.

The highpoint of the event was the decoration of Mrs Okereke-Linus as a WASH Ambassador against open defecation.

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