Lagos State Government has flagged off the “Clean Lagos: Use The Toilet Campaign" initiative to curb open defecation, stating that over 600 privately-owned public toilet operators have been registered, in addition to the construction of over 140 public toilets.
The Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, speaking during the celebration of the Y2020 World Toilet Day event at Onigbongbo Motor Park, Ojota, maintained that the celebration brings to the front-burner issues such as water, sanitation and hygiene.
He added that in addition to the already constructed public toilet facilities, the State Government will be placing mobile toilets in strategic locations, upgrade the already existing toilet facilities to encourage patronage and partner with donors, individuals and corporate organisations in the management and maintenance of these facilities.
Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Mrs Aderonke Odeneye, said the theme for the year 2020 World Toilet Day celebration: “Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change," is apt and serves as a reminder of the importance of a sustainable sanitation process, alongside clean water and handwashing facilities.
He explained that it would also help protect and maintain health security and stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and the most recent COVID-19 ravaging the entire world and threatening human existence.
The Commissioner said the flag-off of the “Clean Nigeria: Use The Toilet Campaign” was in furtherance of efforts to ensure that all public places, including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets and latrines within their premises for public use, stressing that the attitude of the citizenry in the usage and maintenance of the facilities had been very poor.
Bello also emphasised that the State Government had constituted a Special Task Force with the name “Anti-Open Defecation Gang” on open urination and defecation across Lagos to arrest and arraign defaulters before a Magistrate Court for prosecution.
He enjoined Lagosians to join the State crusade of attaining a cleaner, healthier, functional and sustainable environment, capable of promoting economic growth and well-being of the entire citizenry.
The Country Manager, Reckitt Benckiser, Asif Hashimi, said the company was elated to partner with the Lagos State Government to change the face of toilets in Nigeria.
Hashimi said the stigma of the rating of Nigeria as first on the list of Open Defection can be fought in unison for a better and healthier environment, calling on the general public, public toilet operators, individuals and corporate organisations to come on board to embark on aggressive sensitisation campaigns.