The Federal Government has encouraged the Rivers State Government to fulfil its side of the agreement to abolish open defecation by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Professor Joseph Terlumun Utsev, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, stated this in Port Harcourt during a familiarisation tour of the Niger Delta Basin Authority (NDBA) facilities and projects in Rivers State, saying that eliminating open defecation will improve people’s hygiene, sanitation, and health standards.
According to the findings, Nigeria has the highest number of persons practising open defecation. The Federal Government stated that only Jigawa State, out of the 36 states in the country, is free of open defecation, describing the situation as deplorable and underlining the need for other state governments to engage with federal authorities to eradicate open defecation.
He added that the tour was to review infrastructure and authority projects in order to meet President Bola Tinubu’s agenda of guaranteeing a better society.
He said: “To end open defecation and enthrone hygiene, we need to construct toilets at the motor parks, hospitals, schools and public places to ensure the objective is achieved. So, the Rivers State government needs to come on board. There is a need for us to build synergy between the three tiers of government to ensure that this is achieved.”
The minister also explained that access to potable water is part of the mandate of the ministry, and assuring that it will be delivered.
“We are targeting about 500 hectares of land across the country under irrigation. We cannot succeed without completing all our dams that are under construction, ensuring we complete the projects.
“We will engage state governments in allocation of lands, while we provide water for irrigation, the government is supposed to give the Certificate of Occupancy to ensure that the land belongs to the farmers to avoid any issue with the farmers,” he said.
“The government is serious about improving the lives of Nigerians, ensuring food security, wealth creation and youth empowerment”
“Some projects that will drive this have been completed, while some are ongoing, we are determined to complete more projects and initiate new ones,” he added.