Environment Minister declares mandatory toilets in all building plans

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By Abigael Joshua

Malam Balarabe Lawal, the Minister of Environment, has announced a significant policy shift, mandating that all building plans in Nigeria must now include provisions for toilets.

This directive was made during the commemoration of the 2023 World Toilet Day in Abuja, themed “Accelerating Change.”

Expressing concern over the prevalent use of open spaces and water bodies for excreta disposal in the country, Lawal emphasised the need to integrate toilets into all building plans.

He outlined plans to propose this requirement to state governments, urging all building institutions to enforce it.

Lawal highlighted the consequences of inadequate sanitation, noting its adverse effects on public health, education, productivity, and general well-being.

He particularly emphasised the disproportionate impact on the poorest individuals, especially women and girls.

Acknowledging the current state of sanitary facilities in institutions, Lawal urged for urgent investment and innovation throughout the entire sanitation service chain.

He emphasised the importance of sewerage systems in urban areas and safe sewage collection to address the challenges of disposal effectively.

During a sanitary inspection of Federal Government unity schools in the FCT, Lawal noted deficiencies, such as locked or poorly maintained toilets and inadequate water supply.

He urged schools facing similar challenges to take note and enhance their sanitation conditions.

In a positive note, Lawal recognised Federal Government College Rubochi and Federal Government College Kwali as the cleanest schools in the FCT during the World Toilet Day commemoration.

Charles Ikeah, the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, reiterated the global and national importance of addressing the sanitation crisis.

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He stressed the threat it poses to nature and public health, particularly among vulnerable groups.

Ikeah pointed out that over 3.5 billion people worldwide lack safe toilets, with 48 million Nigerians still practicing open defecation.

He highlighted the high rates of diarrheal diseases, especially among children under the age of five, emphasizing the preventable nature of these issues through accessible and adequate toilet facilities.

Representative from the Ministry of Education, Mrs Hassana Mailafiya, underscored the significance of proper sanitation practices, calling for collective efforts to ensure no one is left behind in matters of sanitation.

The World Toilet Day, marked annually on November 19, serves as a reminder of the global commitment to improving sanitation conditions. (NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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