Open defecation: Divergent views rock proposed bill at stakeholders meeting


 

Divergent views by lawmakers and other stakeholders rocked the proposed bill to establish the Clean Nigeria Agency for prohibition of open urination and defecation.

The Senate Committee on Water Resources on Monday held a one-day public hearing on the bill, but government agencies and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources differed extensively on the possibility of the agency, fearing that there might be duplication of responsibilities.

The Committee, which was chaired by Senator Bello Mandiya, could not arrive at a concrete direction given the bill’s trailing mixed reactions, particularly as the Federal Ministry of Water Resources which knocked the bill appeared to be convincing in their presentations.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Clifford Ordia maintained in his submission that there need to end open urination and defecation in Nigeria, stating that the bill has passed second reading which the public hearing would afford the Senate to gather views for further legislative action.

Ordia said the bill would also complement the Presidential Executive Order 009 on enforcement and sanctions against Open Defecation System (ODS).

In his opening speech, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the bill was necessary due to its implications on the size of the population, public welfare and the environment.

He said: “I want to urge the Committee to take a critical look at all presentations from stakeholders in order to arrive at a fair hearing.

Also the Society for Water and Sanitation led by Attah Benson, expressed their own view, saying that there is a need for proper coordination and synergy on Sanitation and environmental issues between States and Local governments.

“State governments should strengthen their contributions to the issues because water and sanitation matters are human rights,” National Coordinator of the society.”

Sen. Bello Mandiya, Chairman of the committee, expressed concern that in spite of huge funds and availability of personnel with capacity, Nigeria still ranked the highest among countries that practised open defecation.

Mandiya was shocked that Nigeria had not attained significant progress in sanitation after four years of a committee to tackle the situation.

“Why have we not done well like India that tackled its situation within four years”, he asked

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