The Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, has urged Nigerians to construct toilets in homes and public places so as to prevent the outbreak of diseases.
The minister made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a news conference organised to commemorate the 2017 World Toilet Day.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the United Nations General Assembly has set aside Nov. 19 every year as the World Toilet Day because of the relevance to environmental sanitation.
Jibril, who underscored the need for environmental sanitation in efforts to promote preventive health care, said if people built and used clean toilets, it would improve their well-being.
He said that the purpose of celebrating the World Toilet Day was to reawaken societal consciousness on the importance of having and using safe toilets in every household.
He said that the celebration was also aimed at improving hygiene and tackling the menace of open defecation in the society.
“For this year’s event here in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has put together series of activities to commemorate the day, with a particular emphasis on institutional sanitation.
“We have noted with dismay the sad fact that public conveniences in many institutions such as government offices, markets, petrol stations, private and public schools are in a deplorable state,’’ he said.
The minister urged all stakeholders, including the media, to sensitise Nigerians to the importance of environmental sanitation and the need to make their toilets clean and accessible to the members of the public.
He said that the National Council on Environment had recently approved the deployment of sanitation desk officers to all the 774 local government areas of the country.
Jibril, who also called for the construction of good sewage systems across the country, urged relevant stakeholders to take a cue from the activities of a human waste management company in Israel.
He said that in the course of treating human waste, the company produced bio-gas to power its plant, turned the waste into organic fertiliser for farmers and treated the water recovered from the waste for irrigation and other farming purposes.
Mrs Nnenna Didigu, the National Coordinator, Initiative for the Prevention of Malaria, an NGO, said that there was no improvement in environmental sanitation across the country.
Didigu noted that many people believed that the issue of sanitation was the primary responsibility of the government, adding that the misconception had hindered efforts to have clean surroundings.
She stressed that environmental sanitation was a collective responsibility, saying that a clean environment would also engender a healthy, disease-free society.