The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, says the Federal Government will encourage states to introduce a law to ban open defecation practice.
Adamu said this at a Lunch Time Forum, with the theme, `Engage, Educate and Empower Nigerians on the Legacy Project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources’ in Abuja.
According to him, this is necessary as part of the national campaign towards ending open defecation practice by 2025.
“So, what we are doing as far as we are concerned is to encourage the states to, as part of their campaign, provide some legislation against open defecation.
“There was a bill that was presented by a senator in the National Assembly, who wanted to a national law enacted about it, it is still pending before the National Assembly.
“So, there might be a national law which we will support. We support some legislation at national level, but we think it’s more appropriate that states should be the ones to undertake this legislation.
“Secondly, the issue is if you do the legislation, is it fair to punish people for open defecation in motor parks, if we have not provided the facility.
“So, I think we also need to concentrate on providing these facilities, I used to call it a carrot and stick approach. That’s what I think it should be.’’
The minister said the Federal Government would continue to advocate for Nigerians to build and use their toilets, saying advocacy would be for improved construction of toilets, especially in public places.
He said it was within the purview of the states to enact the legislation, noting that local government councils could also have bye-laws that would address the menace.
On the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme, Adamu said that states must meet eligibility criteria such as making counterpart funds available for sustainability.
He said many states had defaulted in keeping up their parts of the agreement in these projects, adding that they practice was no longer acceptable.
“We are not going to give free lunches to states anymore, we have done projects worth billions of naira, and given them to states, they didn’t pay a dime.
“Now for them to run the schemes, put the money down and get people to run the scheme, it is not being done. It has to be a partnership and they must meet all conditions.
“Federal Government is not going to be giving out its monies anyhow anymore, because we are not seeing the results in some places’’.
The minister added that some states were being crafty in project implementation with sharp practices like diversion of funds.
He emphasised the need for renewed partnerships between states and the federal government towards improving the water and sanitation needs of the populace.