The Federal Government has pledged to end open defecation by 2019 to create a healthy environment.
Hajiya Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, disclosed this when she featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
“We’ve decided to embark on a couple of campaigns and apart from the sanitation day, we are setting ourselves targets – two targets specifically.
“One will be about ending open defecation in public places by 2019 because I think it is important to know that we don’t have a country that everyone has toilet facilities in their homes talk less of in public places.
“But if we can stop this in public places, we can begin to really deal with the problem.
“And that means providing public toilets; it means a partnership with the private sector; it means a lot of learning and knowledge for sanitation.
“It means partnership for instance with the Ministry of Water Resources where they have been responsible for water and for a long time in collaboration with UNICEF.
“Here looking at a new sanitation policy that as sectors we can come together and we can begin to form programmes.
“That target we set for open defecation we will work hand in hand with states governments and local governments and making sure that the private sector comes in to build these toilets for us and even create
“Jobs with dignity and so, therefore, we have to find ways of doing that in making sure that this is sustainable.
“Government cannot do this by itself and so therefore partnership will be important.’’
According to the minister, the FG has set a target to end the incessant dumping of plastic products on streets.
“The second target we set was to end seeing on the streets plastic bags, pure water, bottles and bringing again, the principles of making the private sector that involve in producing plastic, take that responsibility for collection and again for recycling.
“We will create jobs and we think that this will work by 2019; so this is something that we would like to do outside of the waste.
“There is correlation between the two I have to tell you that for us when we put this campaign out, one of the things that we found is that no one size fits all.
“Open defecation in some states in the north is the different issue in the south or in the south-east.
“And when I say we must take all the plastic bags off the streets, one of the things I learnt in one of our states is that, that itself is going to be a sanitation issue because that’s what they use for open defecation.’’
The minister said the Federal Government had designed a strategy to sensitise the public to the menace of open defecation.
She, therefore, urged the media to assist the Federal Government in the campaign especially at the grassroots.